A group of 70 high school and college students from Brooklyn had an opportunity to have “Lunch with a Judge” with Hon. Deborah Dowling as part of the Kings County Courts Student Employment and Internship Program on Tuesday.
The program, which has lasted for more than 20 years now, picks kids nominated by local community organizations for a six week paid summer internship. This year’s group is the largest group yet and they are placed in various spots in the court system based on their skills.
“These are really dedicated young people who want to do something with their lives,” said court spokesperson Izetta Johnson.
Justice Dowling has participated in the summer program throughout much of its existence. She mentors one student each summer who is especially motivated to become a lawyer and presides over mock trials and serves as a judge during competitions
During the lunch, Dowling spoke with the kids about how to dress professionally, what they should be doing during interviews and proper etiquette during luncheons. She gave tips like, putting your napkin on your lap, don’t put your elbows on the table, the order of utensil use, being considerate and avoiding controversial topics of conversation.
“Those are the kinds of things that are important,” Dowling said. “If you are going to have an interview and it’s a luncheon interview then it is important to remember these things. You need to be aware of those kinds of things in order to present a polished picture. Some of these things seem silly, but you need to know them. It’s things you’ll need in the course of your journey.”
Dowling also spoke about the importance of dressing properly and had tips for both the boys, wear a suit and tie when possible, and the girls, avoid hoop earrings.
“If there was a choice between giving Flavor Flav a job or Jay Z, who are you going to give a job to?” Dowling asked the students. “Probably Jay Z because appearance makes a big difference. It’s important to have a professional look. People judge you and you may think that’s wrong, but they do.”
This is just the first major event for the interns this summer. Over the next couple of weeks they will take part in competitions like best professional dresser, best interviewer and a mock trial will be conducted with Hon. Robin K. Sheares.
“I hope you have a productive summer, you enjoy yourself and work hard,” Dowling said to the students. “Whatever you put your mind to it is conceivable. Be persistent. People will put up roadblocks in front of you, but you keep going. That is one of the things that has most helped me. Be persistent and be prepared to do the work.”