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Internship sets path toward prosecuting
Atlantic Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden, left, and intern Nicholas Herron review a statute while discussing a case at the DA’s office in Hinesville. Herron, a former BI Tiger, spent the summer interning with Durden. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
After spending the summer as an intern for the Liberty County District Attorney’s Office, former BI Tiger and current University of South Carolina School of Law student Nicholas Herron said the experience helped him decide what path he’ll take after the bar exam.
“I want to work in a district attorneys’ office and hopefully in this office, if that opportunity arises,” he said.
Herron spent the summer working alongside DA Tom Durden. The DA said he was glad to have Herron because he knew the lay of the land and helped with the workload at his office.
“It benefitted the office because it gave us essentially another attorney,” Durden said. “The law allows him to do a lot of things under the tutelage of one
of the attorneys here at the office. It allowed him to do a lot of research, to help us in court, to take pleas and involve himself in courtroom proceedings which in turn it allowed us to free some of our other attorneys up.”
Durden said the internship provided Herron an opportunity to apply practical applications to enhance what he learned in books at school.
“He was able to be in the courtroom, handle real cases and see people for who they really are,” Durden said. “Not just names on pages, but people who are in court because either they got in trouble or were victims of a crime.”
Herron said the highlight of his summer came during a drug trial.
“I actually got to try a case with Mr. Durden,” Herron said. “He let me run with it and allowed me to jump in there and put my feet to the fire. It’s a heart-pounding yet great experience. Not many people can say they actually tried a case while still in law school, and I really think it’s something I’ll look back on and appreciate.
“Now that I have one under my belt ... You immediately realize what you could have done different, so it’s
a totally different experience being in a courtroom and dealing with people every day over studying this stuff in books and going over theory in a classroom. I got a chance to use courtroom procedures like opening and closing statements, present evidence and do direct examination of witnesses.”
The experience helped Herron decide what he will do after passing the Georgia Bar Exam. He said he came into the process somewhat ignorant of the prosecutorial side of the law.
“I didn’t really know what it was like to work in a district attoney’s office,” Herron said. “But after meeting all the attorneys here and meeting the defense attorneys too … the public defenders I dealt with here, it gives you an appreciation for what they do and what the district attorneys do. With all that being said, this is definitely what I want to do now.”
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