The summer of 2013 was a busy one for the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse, between the James “Whitey” Bulger trial and the arraignment of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber; it was clear the court could use all hands on deck. One such set of hands belonged to 16-year-old Esther Huynh, a current junior at the Boston Latin School, who was hired as the Summer Jobs student for the court.
“When we found out our offices would have a Summer Jobs student, all we knew was her age. I thought she was too young to help with managing court activities, but within a couple of days, I said ‘let’s send her, she can handle it,” said Virginia Hurley, the Outreach/Training Coordinator in the Clerk’s Office of the Federal District Court. This is how Esther found herself in the middle of one of the most high-profile cases in Boston’s recent history -- she was tasked with managing the overflow room at the Bulger trial. “There was one time when someone in the overflow room saw court staff go through an alarmed door and thought she could follow, which ended up setting off the alarm,” Esther explained. “It was pretty crazy, but it got sorted out.”
In addition to this responsibility, Esther also had the opportunity to meet some of Boston’s most recognizable faces: former Mayor Thomas Menino, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, and several district court judges. She was also given the opportunity to witness several hearings and visit prominent area firms. “One of the best parts about this job is that I understand that a lot of the public doesn’t get to be where I am…getting to eat lunch with judges -- I know many lawyers don’t even have that opportunity.”
While the Summer Jobs program provides unique hands on experience for area students, as well as summer employment, it also gives these students a chance to think about their future. “At sixteen, I wouldn’t know what lawyers do -- being here allows me to see it first-hand, and also explore what I want to do later in life as well.”