Allegra Murphy ’18

Allegra is a sociology major from Chicago, Illinois.


DeVaughan Fellow in Criminal Justice

Cook County Public Defender's Office | Chicago, Illinois

Week 8:
Saying Goodbye


August 4, 2017 | I just finished my last week at Branch 43! My last day was one of the most hectic and emotional I’ve experienced so far. A large portion of our morning was taken up by spending time with a deaf client who required two interpreters that Katie was representing later in the afternoon. I took the […]

Week 7:
“Bad Guys” and “Good Guys”


July 30, 2017 | I’m nearing the end of my time here at Branch 43 and I don’t want to leave! I have made so many wonderful connections here and learned more than ever imagined I could as an undergrad student just observing court. As usual, I got to do some new things this week including accompanying Katie on […]

Week 6:
In The Trenches


July 23, 2017 | This week brought a couple new challenges with some exciting opportunities! Katie tasked me with doing the mitigation portion of client interviews for the rest of my time here at Branch 43. This means that, as the attorney, at the beginning of the interview Katie is still legally obligated to tell each client what they […]

Week 5:
The Intersection of Race, Poverty, and Healthcare


July 16, 2017 | This week we had a substitute judge for three days in lieu of Kuzas. Judge Richardson likes to speak directly with the defendants about their circumstances, and in one case at the end of the admonishment (where the judge sentences the defendant), Richardson told the defendant “the criminal justice system is the beast at the […]

Week 4:
I’m Gonna Make You a Lawyer


July 14, 2017 | Each week I gain more perspective on the role of the public defender in the eyes of their clients. For most, conversations with Katie provide them with clarity on their situation and peace of mind when they have to go back to their cells in lock up. Sometimes they leave the conversation frustrated, given that […]

Week 3:
Seeing Both Sides


July 10, 2017 |   This week I learned that one of the best ways to make yourself useful as an intern is to anticipate the needs of your supervisor, as well as their coworkers, before they ask for something to be done. Every morning, and throughout the day, I check whether or not there are enough appearance forms, […]

Week 2:
“Crook” County


June 11, 2017 | This week I learned a lot about the culture of the courtroom. I had the privilege of watching a couple bench trials for the first time, learned more about the formal and informal relationships between prosecutors and public defenders, and gained insight into the types of unspoken standards that attorneys on both sides set for […]

Week 1:
A Rare Opportunity


June 8, 2017 | Almost daily, my supervisor’s partner Barrington, another public defender, reiterates to me how unique an opportunity I have to see how a courtroom functions without a law degree through completing this internship. His thoughts are echoed by multiple others who work in Branch 43, one of two courtrooms at the courthouse on Harrison and Kedzie. […]