On Friday, Hannah, Luis, Forrest and I attended the Federal Court Observer Program at the Federal Courthouse downtown. The Honorable Paul C. Huck presided over a fantastic program full of information for summer associates and judicial interns. For an added treat, one of our very own—Luis—was participating in the program, arguing in a mock motion hearing for a recently settled case!
The day started with breakfast and a reception. Hannah, Forrest and I only had time to give Luis a quick “good luck” as he was already in the zone. We were ushered into a courtroom filled to the brim with rising 2L and 3L students. Chief Judge K. Michael Moore welcomed us to the Federal Court, followed by Ramón A. Abadin—past president of the Florida Bar—who gave the welcome address. Both touched on the importance of professionalism, which seemed to be an overarching theme of the program. Judge Paul C. Huck informed us that he would be asking us trivia questions throughout the program. Judge Huck based most of the questions on reading material he distributed to attendees prior to the program. The material focused on advice for young lawyers, including the importance of your reputation and intellectual curiosity.
Next, it was time for the mock hearing. Hannah, Forrest and I watched Luis argue a personal jurisdiction question in front of Judge Huck and a room full of summer associates. He killed it, and we were so proud! It was fascinating to watch a hearing take place in federal court; this was a great addition to the program.
Afterwards, we listened to three different panels. The first panel was a young lawyer panel. Four panelists and a moderator detailed their experiences transitioning from law students to successful young associates. Helpful pieces of advice were to find hobbies you are passionate about in order to maximize work-life balance, and seek out mentors. The next panel was about how to make partners happy. Four partners and a moderator, each from prestigious law firms in the area, gave us their advice on how to be a partner’s favorite young associate. A piece of memorable advice from this panel was to periodically step back and realize how lucky we are to be in this profession and call ourselves lawyers. The last panel was from a judge’s perspective. Four federal judges, including Judge Huck, gave us their thoughts on how to be an effective young lawyer. A reoccurring piece of advice from this panel was to always seek out ways to improve your writing skills.
Following this panel, Judge Huck concluded the program. It was an excitement-filled morning, full of helpful advice and enlightening perspectives. We were lucky to be a part of it!