From the classroom to the capital, Zachary Dickens is one of nine law students, selected from around the state, to intern this semester at the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee.
"This has been an amazing learning experience," said Dickens, a third-year Miami Law student who has spent the fall working in the chambers of Supreme Court Justice R. Fred Lewis. He added that Lewis, who graduated from Miami Law in 1972, has been inspiring.
"We talk about Miami all the time," Dickens says. "He's so proud of the university and the direction that it's going."
During his time in Tallahassee, Dickens' responsibilities have included summarizing arguments and determining whether or not the court has jurisdiction over a case, as defined in the Florida Constitution. Dickens said that part of what has made his experience so unique is the access he has had to the justices, who are often readily available for a conversation.
After he completes the Bar, Dickens has been asked to return to Justice Lewis's chambers, where he will spend two years clerking.
Even though he treasures the opportunity he has had to work in the Florida Supreme Court, Dickens is not pinching himself. He says he is reminded often that the law is a very serious matter.
"When you go into the courtroom, you realize the reality of it," he said. "You see how this affects real people. It's very real and it's very important. I take a lot of pride in being a part of that."