Working at a District Attorney’s Office: Nothing like TV

I have spent all of the summer working as an intern with the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office (RCDA) in Staten Island, New York. Having no real work experience in the criminal justice field, I did not know exactly what to expect, except for what is usually on TV if I’m being honest. Working in the crime strategies unit, as well as getting to meet many assistant district attorneys and members of the office, really opened my eyes and allowed me to appreciate the work that really happens at a District Attorney’s office.

The most rewarding part of my internship was being able to be a part of work that, to me, felt like it really mattered. The work ranged from simple entry of data to excel all the way to prepping evidence for trials or court hearings. Through all of it, I still felt like the work we were doing was aimed toward one goal: providing a safer community for people to live. All the work done by anyone at the office is typically peer or supervisor reviewed, and every case is carefully handled to ensure the proper justice is taking place. The bureau of the office I interned for, the crime strategies unit, dealt with many different tasks, including crime analysis, conviction review, and investigations of crimes, to name the major parts. As such, there were many different people always working in, or coming in and out of the office. The unit was comprised of three analysts, who the interns worked closely with. They are, without a doubt, some of the most hard-working and committed individuals I have ever seen.

There are some challenges that go along with working at a District Attorney’s Office, however. The main challenge, at least for me, was the nature of some of the cases that we worked on. Some of the cases and situations that come through the office can be quite heavy to deal with, and it’s important to understand that before going into this type of work. Everyone at the office was super understanding, however, offering people to sit out for more graphic discussions/presentations if needed and always giving proper warning. The other main challenge is that while this work can let you meet plenty of new people, a lot of those times those people are victims of a crime, or even criminals themselves. It can be incredibly difficult to deal with those kinds of situations. However, the members of the RCDA were incredibly well-trained and able to handle any situation they had to. It was incredibly rewarding to be part of the work the RCDA offered.

My initial plan out of law school was to “get my start” as a prosecutor and maybe go into a different field of law afterwards. However, after my time at RCDA, I am not even sure I would close the door to working at a DA’s office. The work done is so fulfilling and every day can feel like a difference is being made, so long as the hard and careful work is done thoroughly. Regardless of what I choose to do after law school, I will never forget the time I spent at the RCDA.

Jake Marchese, Criminal Justice ’25

6 Replies to “Working at a District Attorney’s Office: Nothing like TV”

  1. Hi Jake! This experience sounds like it was a blast for you! It sounded like you were able to do many hands-on projects just like an actual attorney. Doing something that you don’t have much experience in can oftentimes be very difficult, but it sounds like you found your way around fairly quickly. It is awesome that every day you felt like you made a difference and I feel like a career similar to this internship would be a great fit for you. I am glad you had a positive experience this summer and I hope you can look back at this experience further down the road!

  2. Hi Jake! I am happy that you got to throw yourself into the District Attorney’s office and the work that is done there. Usually in T.V. shows, actors portraying District Attorneys are usually seen winning a big case and then that’s it. You seem impacted with the reality that the people involved with these crimes have emotions involved. It seems the experience helped you to see that this could be a great career for you to consider.

  3. Hi Jake!

    I am glad to hear that your internship was such a rewarding and memorable experience! As an animal care intern, I was also exposed to a few situations that were difficult to cope with. Similarly, I was surrounded by a very comforting and understanding team and I was taught how to appropriately respond to stressful and unexpected circumstances. I am happy that you enjoyed your time at RCDA and I cannot wait to hear more about your career path in the future!

  4. Hi Jake!

    This sounds like a phenomenal experience. Providing a safe community environment is critical in today’s world and I’m glad you got first hand experience of it. This work can sometimes be overlooked and I’m glad you’re highlighting its importance. Sounds like a fascinating experience with cool areas. I’m glad this experience helped you understand what you would like to do in the future.

  5. Hi Jake! This sounds like an awesome experience! As a fellow criminal justice student, it is hard to figure out what to expect when it comes to these internships. It sounds like your internship was an amazing experience, and it is good that this specific experience has helped you to not close the door to one career. Internships are important and good to have when trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up.

  6. Hello, Jake!

    It is awesome to see your internship come full circle, and it evident that this experience increased your knowledge and understanding of what it means to work at a district attorney’s office. I feel as though growth comes when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and are faced with challenges. Being able to see the significance in this line of work and navigating the difficult cases shows that you have what it takes to become an attorney. It is great to see the criminal justice system from a community lens and how each role and responsibility relates to a greater purpose.

    What were the most important skills you obtained from this experience, and how will you continue to use them in your future career? What was the main element of your internship that allowed you to change your mind about working for a DA’s office? It was great learning about your experience, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

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