Carol O’Brien: Recognizing hard work and achievement

Carol O’Brien - Guest Columnist

It happened again. I blinked and it’s November. This time of year is known for the start of the holiday season, but in the world of law, it’s the end of a long, long wait.

Each year many very anxious, very sleep-deprived law students take the Bar Exam in July. It’s a much-anticipated test whose results determine if they will be sworn in as an attorney. Much to the chagrin of the students, the results aren’t published until the very end of October!

Now that the wait is over, I’m pleased to report that our newest attorney, Robert Yaptangco, passed the Bar and will be sworn in November 13 during a special public session of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Congratulations Robert, and to all the 664 new attorneys Ohio will soon welcome. You should be proud!

While Robert was waiting on pins and needles for his results, he was also working in our office as a Reinberger Fellow. The Reinberger Foundation Fellowship in Prosecution was established in 2012 at Ohio State Moritz’s College of Law. It provides funding for one post-graduate position (as a prosecutor) and four student internships .

My office has been fortunate to receive the Reinberger Grant for four consecutive years. We have been enriched by the addition of Joe Varvel, Jahan Karamail, Kimberly Burroughs, and Robert Yaptangco, all Reinberger Fellows who started their careers through the generosity of the Reinberger family. Thank you, Reinberger family, for helping these young, eager attorneys realize their prosecutorial dreams.

On a regular basis I receive emails or letters asking if I have any internships (paid or unpaid), shadow opportunities, or even a spare day to speak with someone willing to stop by. I appreciate the interest and try to make time. A career, a passion, what you do with your life is so important. If I can help someone, that is my privilege. When I go out and speak to students, I always offer the opportunity to visit my office and check it out for themselves.

Over the years we have been fortunate to meet some of the most fascinating students. We had one non-legal intern who worked in our office for three summers, including when he was in high school. We watched him grow, and now, he is in his first year of law school. Congrats Adam — and thank you for all the hours you logged. Your work was truly appreciated and is still utilized!

We’ve had students shadow for a week or two in one section, and then ask to intern with another division to get more experience. Ally, you’ve been a superstar!

For years, my staff has worked with the Olentangy Local School District to place students who are interested in law, public relations, or victim services/advocacy. To get a position through this Mentorship Program, students must prepare a detailed resume and interview with the chosen organization. They must show up each week, willing to do whatever is asked. In the end, each student creates a portfolio and does a classroom presentation outlining the experience and discussing whether or not they want to pursue a career in the field. My favorite was the young lady who loved her experience but decided she didn’t want to be a prosecutor after all because “they work too many hours and don’t get paid very much.” If I were texting that last line, I’d insert an LOL there.

Our current high school intern, Devin, has been a trooper. Her first week “on the job” included working the Victim Services Unit booth at the Delaware County Fair … on a Sunday … when she only knew one other person in the office. Since then, she’s been in the courtroom and worked on various projects, but I don’t think she ever expected to start out by handing out hand fans and inviting people to enter to win a prize contest.

Our legal interns, law students in their second or third year, work hand in hand with our prosecutors, some even trying cases. Our current legal intern, Abby, has assisted with motions and briefs, freeing up the attorneys to meet with victims and witnesses and to try cases. Abby, you’ve truly made a difference!

As I think back on all the mentors who gave me a chance, all those who took the time to care, there are more than I can name, and I am beyond grateful.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I have so much to be thankful for — my family, my staff, my neighbors, and so much more.

Before signing off, I want to recognize all the Veterans who have given so much for the betterment of all. Please consider joining me this Veterans Day, November 11, for the City of Delaware’s Veterans Day parade starting at 1 p.m. Stepping off from the Ohio Wesleyan University and winding through historic downtown, the parade will end at the Delaware County fairgrounds with a special ceremony. This is a wonderful way to honor and support our veterans and their families.

Happy Veterans Day — Happy Thanksgiving — and thank you all for making Delaware a wonderful community.

Carol O’Brien

Guest Columnist

Carol O’Brien is Delaware County Prosecutor.

Carol O’Brien is Delaware County Prosecutor.