by Amber Ediger
Samantha Conners, ’22, is drawn to helping people. After spending a summer with the Salt Lake Legal Defender Association (SLLDA), she has a better idea of how she will use her law degree.
SLLDA is a nonprofit law firm organized to provide high quality representation to eligible individuals accused of crimes in Salt Lake County. During her time with SLLDA, Conners helped conduct research on cases, wrote briefs and memos, and interviewed clients.
“I enjoyed working with attorneys to identify the best way to represent our clients,” said Conners. “I loved talking to the clients too, particularly when we were able to celebrate things going well.”
Conners was also able to help represent clients in court, working as a support attorney in arraignments, bench trials and jury trials.
“This experience allowed me to argue in front of a judge.” said Conners. “In one case, our client was found not guilty on both counts. It was an incredible feeling to win a jury trial.”
Conners said the experience also demonstrated some of the injustices clients can face, as well as how hard public defenders work for their clients. “I learned that public defenders are often in a difficult position within the legal system. It has made me even more excited to work in public interest after graduation.”