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Benjamin Appel and Cady Sikes Intern with Fayette County
Over the summer, Georgia State University Law students Benjamin Appel and Cady Sikes interned with the Fayette County State Court. As law clerks, Appel and Sikes gained hands-on experience with orders and cases in court.
Appel and Sikes entered their clerkship without prior knowledge of county government operations. Their clerkship provided them with direct access to the court, and both interns said they came away from the experience with deep knowledge of county government and state courts in Georgia. Appel noted that even though he felt "thrown in the deep end at first," his supervisor and fellow interns helped make the clerkship a supportive learning experience.
Appel and Sikes' key responsibilities during the internship included writing orders, researching cases, and observing hearings. Drafting orders was a significant part of the role, and both interns noted how their experience with orders helped them gain critical, real-world legal writing skills. These orders also allowed the interns to build relationships with Judge Jason Thompson, who would review orders and sign them. Sikes said her most significant success of the internship was drafting an order for a medical malpractice case, which allowed her to complete a deep dive into a legal topic that previously interested her.
In addition to drafting orders, Appel and Sikes were also able to engage with ongoing trials. The interns were responsible for briefing cases and motions, as well as researching developing areas of law. Appel cited one of his favorite parts of the internship as seeing an actual trial from start to finish. Both interns said this real-world experience significantly broadened their legal knowledge outside the classroom. Appel remarked that his time as a clerk helped him develop "lots of skills on being an attorney and interacting with the court.”

Appel and Sikes’ internships were inherently collaborative: they worked each day with two other Fayette County interns, bouncing ideas off each other, and drafting orders together. The collaboration helped ease any first-day jitters and provided a new learning experience for the interns. Among the many skills she will take away from the internship, Sikes said “learning to collaborate with my fellow interns was invaluable.”

Appel and Sikes' work with orders and trials will leave an impact on Fayette County State Court operations. Their research into developing areas of law will help prepare court staff on cutting-edge topics. Additionally, their assistance in processing caseload will ease the burden of case backlogs caused by pandemic-related pauses.
Appel and Sikes completed their internship with broadened horizons and new applicable skills to carry on to law school and later in their future careers as attorneys. After their experience with the State Court, both interns would consider a career in county government.
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