LLMs’ behind-scenes courthouse tour

photo-6_2A group of our Georgia Law LL.M. students walked downtown to the Athens Clarke-County courthouse yesterday to visit with several of our law school alums.

Assistant District Attorney Paige Otwell (JD’88) welcomed the group, which included her mentee in the LL.M. Class of 2017, Nelly Sandra Ndounteng.

Associate Magistrate Judge Ben Makin (JD’04) explained his role in the judicial system and discussed subjects ranging from arrest warrants and jail bonds to small claims court.

Ryan Hope (JD’00), who serves as Chief Assistant Solicitor  in the county’s Office of the Solicitor General, told the students how he became interested in the court system through his work at the public defender clinic in law school. In his remarks he touched on Clarke County’s accountability courts, such as DUI court, which integrate treatment and “quick, limited punishments” with the goal of reducing recidivism.

The Honorable Ethelyn N. Simpson (JD’90), Chief Judge of the State Court, related how her early experience clerking for Superior Court judges allowed her to see “a lot of good lawyers and a lot of bad lawyers,” preparing her for an unexpected career on the bench. Her enthusiasm about “the greatest job” was infectious.

After meeting with the alumni, the LL.M. students were escorted into the courtroom to view victim testimony in an ongoing trial. For the students, who come from Cameroon, Venezuela, Nigeria, Iran, Ghana, and the Bahamas, the experience was informative and rewarding. Special thanks to ADA Otwell and Dean Rusk International Law Center Student Ambassador Deborah Nogueira-Yates, a member of the Georgia Law J.D. Class of 2018 who earned her LL.M. here last May, for organizing the visit!

(Pictured above: front row, from left, Philicia Armbrister, Gilbert Oladeinbo, Valerie Mills, Nelly Ndounteng, and Assistant District Attorney Paige Otwell; top row, Noj Oyeyipo, Johann Ebongom, Javier Gonzalez, Laura Kagel (Director of International Professional Education), and Hamed Moradi Roodposhti)

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