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PFP – the richest professional experience I have ever had!

May, 17 2016

On the first day of the week, I attended the Senate Committee on Appropriations hearings and got familiarized with the procedure in a legislature working body. The role of Appropriation Committee is to evaluate the fiscal impact of all the bills. It was interesting to see that after the presentation of the bill by the author in the front of the Committee, the Chairman will ask the witnesses who support the bill to express their opinion and arguments, and after that the witnesses against it. And only after hearing both sides the members will proceed to vote.


I also studied some analysis on bills made by the Committee consultants which include: a bill summary; fiscal impact; background and the new proposals of the bill; the related legislation.Later I had the  opportunity to visit the United States Federal Court, District of California. Due to federalism, both the federal government and each of the state governments has their own court systems. We had the honor to discuss with Edmund Brennan - Magistrate judge, about differences in structure, judicial selection, and cases heard in both systems (federal court and state court).

 

The Constitution states that federal judges are to be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. They hold office during good behavior, typically, for life. Through Congressional impeachment proceedings, federal judges may be removed from office for misbehavior.


The following day, I and other two fellows visited the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento. We had the pleasure to meet and to talk with judge David De Alba about the State Court system, the jury service and about a civil trial which we attended. In addition to good impressions I received from the system of American justice one thing reached my curiosity and admiration - the Jury Service.


The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees a jury trial in criminal cases, and the Seventh Amendment imposes the same requirement in civil cases. A jury is a group of people drawn from a cross-section of the community. The function of the jury at trial is to decide the facts. In a criminal case, the jury decides if the defendant is guilty or not guilty; in a civil case, the jury decides whether the defendant is liable to the plaintiff.


I was surprised to find out that each American citizen who meets the eligibility criteria is obliged to serve as a jury in a trial, it is a civic duty. Every person has the legal duty to report for jury duty in response to a summons to serve. This reflects how transparent is the justice system in the United States and how much people are involved in the judiciary process. This system allows citizens to participate directly in the judiciary process. Is considered that a group of different people, with different views, are thought to produce better decisions than one person because the jury system embodies the value of collective wisdom.

 

To me, the jury service represents one of the most responsible civic duty and the true embodiment of citizen-state cooperation for an equitable justice.This week we also visited the Orrick law firm. Founded a century and a half ago, Orrick is named as one of the "Global 20" leading firms. The law firm practices in five core areas: Corporate, Energy&Infrastructure, Finance, Intellectual property, and Litigation. We talked with one of the lawyers - Stephanie Albrecht whose practice focuses on white collar&corporate investigation, commercial litigation, employment law&litigation. Orrick's international platform comprises 25 offices located in the major commercial markets and regulatory centers of the United States, Europe and Asia. It was an interesting experience because we got a glimpse of the private sector environment.

In the weekend, we had a wonderful and unforgettable time. We visited one of the most beautiful places in the world - Yosemite National Park. We did some hiking, enjoyed the view of waterfalls, and took a lot of pictures. We also visited the Stanford University - one of the world's most prestigious institutions, and Facebook Headquarters. The last sweet drop of the weekend was the Napa Valley tour in which we participated at the invitation of the Legislative Counsel of California - Ms. Diane F. Boyer-Vine. Napa Valley is an American Viticultural Area located in Napa County, California and it is considered one of the premier wine regions in the world. We had a wonderful guide who managed to describe in details the history of winery industry in California and the various taste and flavors of the Californian wine.

 

 

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