January 11, 2010 16:40 Age: 4 yrs

A STEP BACK. A STEP FORWARD. For now. And for good.

By: Ginger Pyron

Keyes Fleming 93L

Deferred associates are discovering in the District Attorney’s Office a double opportunity: to help relieve our backlog of work and to gain hands-on experience in the courtroom.

From the beginning, these volunteer special assistants handle investigations and help with the weekly bond calendar. Once they’re trained in the legal foundations, they move into the courtroom — preparing indictments, appearing in court on cases, handling motions, using the same techniques every good trial lawyer employs. Their clients are people of DeKalb County: defendant victims, an elderly person who needs housing representation, someone who has been discriminated against.

For everyone involved, this is a win-win. Our assistants acquire valuable experience that they can take back to their firms or elsewhere. For people who might never have considered a public service career, this is a perfect opportunity to try it out. Our attorneys love being mentors, sharing their passion for their work. All of us are grateful for the painstaking help that reduces our case loads and benefits our community.

I hope this experience will help each participant recognize that the law isn’t just about collecting a paycheck: it’s about solving problems for people. Every lawyer has a responsibility to this higher calling.
As long as law firms are willing to partner with us, we are more than willing to open our doors and our files.
— Gwen Keyes Fleming 93L, District Attorney, DeKalb County

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