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Laura K. Keys University of Idaho

My summer working at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho has been absolutely wonderful. I have been exposed to various types of issues, such as child pornography, identity theft, counterfeiting, drug conspiracies, and CVB Forest Service violations. I have attended court many times, watching judges and observing my supervisor and the two other AUSAs. I have met a variety of agents from many different federal agencies and have been able to see various cases progress.

I had my first appearance in Court in front of the Honorable Judge Edward J. Lodge, where I presented the U.S. position on a Rule 11 Plea Agreement. Basically the Defendant was making a guilty plea, so I had to give the elements of the crime which was charged and give the factual allegations to show that the Government could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. I then had to give the position of the United States on the Defendant’s conditions of release. It was not complicated but was a great opportunity to speak in front of a federal district court judge, especially in front of a judge with over 48 years under his belt.

I have also appeared in front of the Honorable Candy W. Dale, The Honorable Judge Larry M. Boyle and the Honorable Justin Lowe Quakenbush. Appearing before these judges has been an honor and makes me confident that I can have the confidence to make effective and professional appearances in the future, no matter the court. I particularly enjoyed handling CVB appearances with the other extern in the office.

The staff and attorneys in Coeur d’Alene have been instrumental to my experience. They are tremendously helpful and have offered invaluable advice and suggestions for improvement. I greatly admire the attorneys I have been able to work with this summer and will strive to emulate some of the values and characteristics they embody. I have been introduced to many AUSAs in Boise as well, who have given their time each week to educate us on a variety of interesting topics. Weekly writing workshops and brown bag lunches educate externs on a variety of legal topics. One of the most memorable for me was the presentation on drug prosecutions by AUSA Monte Stiles. I left the presentation inspired and wanting to hear more. The knowledge, experience, and perspective offered by each presenter was incredible and the work that each AUSA does each day is impressive.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office definitely has an outstanding externship program and I truly believe this program is likely better than any paid position I could have obtained. My progress as an aspiring attorney has been exceptional. I find that my confidence has improved tremendously, which only strengthens my desire to pursue a career in public service as a prosecutor.