Law Students Visit Real SF Courtroom

Law+Students+Visit+Real+SF+Courtroom

Kevin Fong, Editor-in-Chief

Dino Petrocco’s Law and Society class witnessed the trial of County of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles Co. Employee Relations Comm. in San Francisco on March 5. The annual field trip gave students an opportunity to see a case argued at the California State Supreme Court, according to Petrocco.

According to Government and Economics teacher Paul Verbanszky, the case was about the state constitutional right to privacy. The trip also included a tour of the side of the court the public doesn’t normally get to see. A chaperone on the trip, Verbanszky said, “We were able to get the behind the scenes tour. We were able to visit the chief justice’s chamber and see where all the decisions are made. We were able to meet the clerk of the court, Frank McGuire.”

Junior Elena Hancock enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look of the court. “It was really cool and fun,” she said. “I learned that justices’ chambers are big.”

Petrocco holds the trip to give his students the experience of a true court. He said, “I think it kind of brings it alive, to some extent. We’ve been talking about court cases, and we’ve been talking about the law. We’ve actually had moot courts in class, we’ve had mock trials. So I think this just kind of gives students the opportunity to just see it in person, and watch attorneys and justices in action; just kind of experience the legal system in full effect.”

For Hancock, the trip had that effect. She said, “I couldn’t really visualize what court was really like, and how it actually went, or get the feeling of court and how it felt sitting in court, so now I know what it is exactly like.”

She added, “I learned most justices start off with a certain opinion about a case, but oftentimes once the arguments are presented, they change their mind.”

Verbanszky made the behind-the-scenes tour possible through his connection to Justice Chin’s Chief of Staff.

One of Petrocco’s favorite parts of the trip is getting his students out of the classroom. He said, “Probably my favorite part is just getting a chance to see the kids in a professional setting.” He added, “Just to be outside of the class with them, because I rarely get that opportunity.”

The Law and Society class has gone to watch a Supreme court case the last 4 years.