Laquan Lightfoot ’11 (Washington, D.C.) first became interested in justice and law in high school after serving as a youth adviser for the D.C. Youth Advisory Council. The government organization gives young people a voice to influence legislation and policies that impact youth within the city and works to create youth-adult partnerships.
“I became really interested in youth advocacy and showing young people that they have a voice, and that hard work and perseverance can pay off,” she says.
A government and law major and psychology minor, Lightfoot plans to go to law school after graduation and become a prosecutor in a district attorney’s office.
This summer, she landed the perfect job as an intern in the Homicide Unit within the Trial Division of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. The Trial Division is responsible for prosecuting most adult crimes, ranging from summary offenses to homicide.
Lightfoot was involved with all areas of the unit’s responsibilities and primarily assisted an assistant district attorney. She helped with trial preparation and jury selection, created a presentation that the assistant DA used in a closing argument, drafted witness subpoenas, helped an investigation of a defendant in a death penalty case, and assisted in victim and witness services.
“Prosecution isn’t all about dealing with criminals. You have to work with witnesses and help victims get over their fear of testifying,” she says. “It’s also about helping victims move past the crime and letting them know that justice is out there.”
Lightfoot approached her work with a professional attitude that seemed to make a strong impression.
“I was surprised to find out that some of the jurors, court staff, and even the detectives thought I was already a lawyer or in law school,” she says.
The most important thing she learned over the summer is that she is on the right career path.
“I came away from the experience with an even stronger conviction to become a lawyer,” she says. “It’s not just a job, it’s who you are.”
On campus, Lightfoot is part of the College’s mock trial team, which advanced to the national round of the American Mock Trial Association tournament in April. She received an All-Region Attorney Award during the preliminary round.
Lightfoot is also a Washington, D.C. Posse Scholar; a member of the Association of Black Collegians, the Precision Step Team, and Student Government; and was co-chair of the Class of 2014 Orientation Committee.
Lightfoot’s internship was supported by the College’s Intern Scholars program, which is funded by a generous gift from George (Sunny) Whelen ‘P10.