Becky Gaffer

Becky Gaffer

2012 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award


Interned for the Wisconsin Department of Justice in Madison in the Criminal Litigation Unit

Major: Legal Studies and Political Science, with a certificate in Criminal Justice

Goal: To attend law school.

The Criminal Litigation Unit of the Department of Justice, among other things, assists local District Attorneys in prosecuting cases that might otherwise be too onerous for them. As an intern, I supported the Assistant Attorney General’s in preparing for these cases. I conducted legal research regarding the issues presented in each case and assisted in file management and recording. The legislative history research I did was often used by the attorneys to inform their arguments when writing briefs to the court. My work afforded me the opportunity to see how attorneys construct arguments and reasonably apply the law to the cases they work on. I was also able to observe the interaction of law and politics by way of my involvement in the legal analysis of documents in the drafting process. My position also included the opportunity to shadow many of the attorneys in court. Trial advocacy is truly an art, and I had the unique pleasure of witnessing some of the DOJ’s finest artists at work.

My work with the Department of Justice engaged me in critically thinking about the legal issues currently affecting someone’s life. Sharing a small amount of the responsibility for handling these cases allowed me to see how rewarding and empowering working for one’s state and one’s community can be. Working alongside such experienced professionals helped sharpen my analytical skills and has shown me the importance of understanding all aspects of a case. I am grateful for the many experiences offered by my internship and for the opportunity to see and be a part of law in action.