The Summit County Prosecutor’s office is allowing a law student to handle some felony cases, an arrangement which they believe could be the first of its kind in the county.
In 2009, the Ohio Supreme Court expanded the types of cases in which a legal intern could provide representation. Last summer, third-year law student Ashley Lanz was the first from the University of Akron to approach the Summit County Prosecutor’s office about handling low-level felonies. She says the experience is different from misdemeanors, since many of her cases are drug-related.
“Felonies have bigger consequences; there’s a lot more on the table. And luckily, there’s more programming that’s available for defendants. That really gives me a leg up -- not only on my fellow students who don’t have those experiences – but also on some practicing attorneys who don’t know that some of these programs exist.”
Lanz says she hopes other students throughout the state approach their county prosecutors about setting up a similar arrangement for interns in the future.