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OA Law and Politics Club hosts courthouse field trip

Learning about Law; OA Law and Politics Club members visit the Orange County Superior Court in a day filled with discovering law procedures and seeing professionals at work. (Photo by OC Courts)

On Jan. 25, 28 members of OA Law and Politics club went on a field trip to Santa Ana Courthouse. Aiming to provide opportunities to learn about law proceedings, discover more about different careers, and humanize the justice system, OA Law and Politics hoped that the experience was immersive and informational for attendees. 

Students started the day off hearing talks from an array of courthouse employees, including a judge, assistant presiding judge, public defender, prosecutor, and bailiff. Throughout the process, students engaged with speakers, learning about their journeys to enter their careers, and tips to becoming successful in the law field. 

“I enjoyed learning about the diverse experiences the speakers went through in their positions.” senior Kaylin Chan said. “Hearing about the various jobs they had, beyond just ‘lawyer,’ opened my eyes to different paths I could take in the law field.”

Furthermore, as students engaged with the all-female panel, they were able to learn more about the professionals’ personal journeys as they got to their positions.

“I loved hearing about how [the speakers’] backgrounds affected who they are today,” senior Isabella Pace said. “One judge immigrated to this country with nothing and then became a successful judge. The prosecutor being one of few Asian Americans in the courthouse turned this difference into motivation to be a role model for others. Hearing about their goals and aspirations was really inspirational.”

Following the talks, participants briefly attended a live trial case with an ongoing murder trial that occurred in 2018. Students experienced the environment of the trial, allowing them to better understand how the proceedings actually work.

“The [atmosphere] was very serious and professional.” senior Thien Do said. “Media depictions of courtrooms are very emotional, but here it was just attorneys asking witnesses questions, and it sounded like they were just verifying evidence professionally.” 

Though the club was able to watch about 20 minutes of the trial, the Santa Ana courthouse, being an open courthouse, extended an invitation to the students and general citizens to come back to sit in on trials.

“I would definitely come back to the courthouse,” Pace said. “You only ever see highlights of the case, but in the courtroom, you can see the trial actually unfold. It feels a lot more intense; the defendant is sitting just a few feet away from you, and the atmosphere is very serious.” 

.In the future, OA Law and Politics club hopes to expand new avenues of connecting Oxford students with the law field by establishing mock trials and turning court trials into annual field trips. 

“Oxford Academy lacks a lot of opportunities for social science, so we’re hoping that people [got] a glimpse of an actual courthouse and [determined] if they want to pursue this field, and [we hope to continue to] provide more opportunities for [students to engage with] social science,” OA Law and Politics co-president, Ashley Chen said.

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About the Contributor
Lavanya Shyamsundar
Lavanya Shyamsundar, Managing Editor
Lavanya Shyamsundar will be serving the Gamut this year as Managing Editor. As a senior, she’s looking forward to completing college applications and most importantly enjoying her last year in high school. Lavanya first joined the Gamut out of her own interest for journalism and love for the newspaper, wanting to find a place where she could write. And in her fourth and final year in the Gamut, she’s excited about all of the new content that the Gamut will produce this year, as well as supporting and improving the Gamut community as a role model. Outside of senior expectations and Gamut responsibilities, Lavanya is a pasta-loving, Indian classical-music-enjoying singer who enjoys thought-provoking topics that make you think about life. She loves food (as long as it’s vegetarian), and loves the colors purple and pink, self-titling herself as “the embodiment of pink.” She enjoys listening to bands like Lamp, Radiohead, and Cocteau Twins. And if you’re ever talking to her, she might hit you with one of her very specific would-you-rather questions to spice up the conversation. As she takes the next step in life, her one piece of advice to underclassmen as a senior is to push yourself to try new things, even if it’s hard.
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