Certified Legal Intern Impacts Community

Certified Legal Intern Impacts Community

3L Sabrina Ortega
By Catharine Skipp

3L Sabrina Ortega

Certified Legal Intern Impacts Community

By Catharine Skipp
Sabrina Ortega looks ahead to becoming an assistant state attorney.

Third-year law student, Sabrina Ortega, works as a certified legal intern at the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office in Division 88 of the domestic violence unit by placement through the Litigation Skills Externship program. The program prepares students for placement, allowing them to speak in court frequently and gain valuable insight into the process a new case goes through, from start to finish. Students participating in the program must have taken evidence and Litigation Skills I and be enrolled in the externship program before the program can have them certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a legal Intern.

The externship program provides students placed in state and government agencies the opportunity to participate in court proceedings and appear on the record in proceedings while accompanied by a supervising lawyer. The students can utilize their legal training to gain invaluable legal experience prior to graduation.

Ortega believes her placement has allowed her to impact the community by helping victims and their loved ones daily. She has assisted those stuck in the cycle of violence break free and helped find solutions that benefit everyone involved while working to provide just resolutions for all parties.

"Working as a certified legal intern at the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office Domestic Violence Unit has been a truly educational and memorable experience," she said. "My job as a CLI has provided me with the opportunity to learn and grow as a legal student, soon to be professional. It has given me the insight I needed to understand what I wanted to do in the future."

Ortega, a Miami native, has learned how to speak on weekly sounding, arraignment, and bonds calendars. She has prepped cases for trial and conducted witness, victim, and police officer interviews for pre-filing and pre-trial conferences. Working for the state, she has been able to watch the outcomes of cases and seek justice for victims on behalf of the surrounding community. 

"We are excited to see Sabrina, one of our Hogan Scholars, capitalize on the skills she acquired through our program. What a great experience for her," said Jeannie Jontiff, acting director of the Litigation Skills Program.

"I would encourage anyone in Lit Skills to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. You truly receive so much responsibility, in a good way," Ortega said.

Ortega is a senior notes and comments editor for the University of Miami Business Law Review. She is also an active member of the Hispanic Law Students Association.

Read more about Miami Law’s Litigation, Arbitration, and Dispute Resolution area of study