Niki Kane

2018 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award


Interned with Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office

I am a senior here at UW Madison and in May of 2019 I will be graduating with degrees in Political Science and Legal Studies, and a certificate in Criminal Justice. Upon graduation, I plan on attending law school in the Fall of 2019, with the long-term goal of becoming a criminal prosecutor.

This summer I had the privilege of interning with the Waukesha County District Attorney, Susan L. Opper, whose office represents the State of Wisconsin by prosecuting crimes and advocating for victims within the courts. Their office emphasizes the safety of the community and seeks to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system as a whole. In addition, the District Attorney’s office also attempts to educate the community through various efforts and events within the county.

Before beginning this internship, I was unsure about my future plans after graduation, and was uncertain as to where my passions would align within the criminal justice field, but everything changed for me week one. After watching my first jury trial, I was certain in my decision to pursue law school and knew that one day Iwanted to be the one sitting at the prosecution table.

This internship truly changed my perspective and I learned so much about myself, as well as the criminal justice system as a whole. As an intern I was assigned various tasks such as legal research, drafting charges on a case, and attending various court proceedings. I was initially enthralled by the idea that my work was actually capable of making a difference in the world, but soon realized it was something more. I was working on tasks that would bring victims one step closer to the justice that they deserved. One of my proudest moments at my internship came about during one of our numerous jury trials. I was tasked the assignment of reviewing materials and performing legal research to use for the cross-examination of a witness. After compiling all of my work I was excited to watch it all unfold within the courtroom, but was incredibly nervous due to the high stakes of the trial. I eagerly watched as our very talented Assistant District Attorney took my research and created an almost jaw-dropping cross examination on the defense’s witness. At that moment I knew that my hard work had paid off, and we as a team were able to ultimately achieve the justice that our three victims deserved.

I am honored to be one of the Audrey J. Harris award recipients this year and am incredibly grateful to the Audrey J. Harris family for their support and the opportunities that this award has given me. Due to their family’s generosity I was able to fully dedicate my summer to this internship and spend more time there, doing what I love. Thank you to the Audrey J. Harris family for their support in my, and my peers’ educations and futures.