On Bank Fraud & Trial Prep

2L Samy Abdallah is working with the US Attorney's Office in North Texas

2L Samy Abdallah is working with the US Attorney’s Office in North Texas

Hello All!

It’s Samy, coming at you with another 1L Summer internship update. My time at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas—Dallas Division has continued to interest and engage me in many ways! I just want to give y’all some updates on some of the legal and non-legal activities I have had the pleasure of taking part in.

A couple of weeks ago, the legal interns in my office (nine of us in total) had an off-site excursion with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) where we learned about the history of the ATF. After that, we were shown different types of explosives typically encountered by ATF agents. Finally, we got to shoot some weapons under the guidance of experienced ATF agents. The firearms we shot ranged from small 9mm handguns to as big as tactical shotguns and AK-47s! It was a great experience!

We also got to meet with U.S. Postal Inspector Special agents and learn about their job. Seeing how Postal Inspectors deal with harmful and dangerous things traveling through the mail was very insightful. It also made me realize how basically everything travels through the mail and how pervasive their job is. My fellow interns and I also got to tour the regional office of the Secret Service and learn about many efforts to hinder and stop counterfeiting. These off-site trips have been very helpful because they show how the U.S. Attorney’s Office works very intimately with a plethora of different federal agencies.

The downtown Dallas skyline makes for a killer work view!

The downtown Dallas skyline makes for a killer work view!

I have been lucky because a trial started this week for a bank fraud case that I have been helping with since I got to the office. Seeing a trial play out in real life is incredibly interesting. I can comfortably say it is nothing like you may see on television. Everything from pretrial motions to jury selection, to cross-examining witnesses is done very meticulously. I never got to see a trial, or even set foot in a courtroom before I started this internship, seeing a court case play out in real life is incredibly fascinating. Furthermore, because I helped the AUSA’s with some of the pretrial motions and trial prep, seeing the litigation firsthand is special since I know I helped my supervising attorneys.

That’s all I have this time! I hope y’all will drop by for my final update in a couple of weeks!

—Samy

Week 2: Woah, We’re Halfway There!

5 OSC interns at the White House

Jamie (left) and the other OSC interns get a tour of the White House

I cannot believe this summer, and my time at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), is already more than half way over.  Since my last post, I have been lucky enough to participate in witness interviews, complete numerous writing assignments, and prepare summaries of case files for my supervising attorneys, among many other assignments.  I have also learned the details of the statutes that guide OSC’s procedures and how to apply them in assessing protected disclosures and analyzing prohibited personnel practices.

The work at OSC revolves around protecting whistleblowers, and my unit in particular assesses whistleblower claims of retaliation and engagement in protected activity, and investigates allegations of prohibited personnel practices if necessary.  As an intern, I have been involved in helping attorneys through all stages of cases.  In the beginning stage, I have had the chance to read initial case files and provide briefs summarizing the case’s main facts and allegations.  In the middle stage, I participate in witness interviews, propose investigative steps for attorneys, and help assess the strength of the allegations based on document review and witness testimony.  In the final stage, I write memos fully analyzing the complainant’s allegations and explaining why OSC can or cannot further pursue claims under the applicable statute.

Apart from my direct work within the Retaliation and Disclosure Unit, OSC has been involved in a couple Congressional hearings in the last few weeks.  Most notably, Special Counsel Henry Kerner was questioned on the Hill regarding OSC’s recommendation that Kellyanne Conway be removed from her position for violating the Hatch Act.  On that day, we set up a big T.V. in the office, and everyone watched the hearing together like it was a sporting event— I’m not sure I can tell you the last time I was that excited to watch C-SPAN.

Although this work keeps me very busy, the internship program at OSC also provides the opportunity for all interns to socialize and participate in field trips outside of the office.  All of the interns (and a lot of staff too!) do trivia every Wednesday night at a nearby bar, and all interns have had the chance to attend Congressional hearings on the Hill.  The other week, I even had the chance to tour the White House with several other interns.  Additionally, we have the opportunity to attend networking events hosted by the Federal Bar Association.

This summer, I have had the opportunity to constructively apply the skills I developed during my first year of law school to an area of law that I was not previously exposed to in the traditional classroom setting.  I have already learned so much throughout the last five weeks, and I’m excited to see the kinds of cases, assignments, and social activities I will encounter before the close of my internship here at OSC.

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