Summer Centered: Molly Biddle '20 Enters the Courtroom
The double major in political science and music is extending her time abroad in England by interning for a London-based human-rights barrister.
Though she’s an ocean away, Molly Biddle ’20 is striving to maintain a Haverfordian sense of social justice and equity in her summer employment. Funded by the Center for Career and Professional Advising’s Deborah Lafer-Scher International Internship, the double major in political science and music is working as an assistant to a London-based criminal defense barrister.
Biddle’s position has enabled her to develop an illuminating relationship with her employer, Susan Wright, a Garden Court Chambers attorney who focuses on human rights cases. Since Wright is a barrister—an attorney focused on the trial-side of cases—Biddle has witnessed a diverse array of legal interactions.
“Some days I will be assisting my boss at a hearing or a trial in one of the many Magistrate Courts and Crown Courts throughout the greater London area,” she said. “Other days are spent meeting with clients and their solicitors in order to prepare for an upcoming court date.”
Biddle is also working on two research projects, one concerned with the “intersection of the English and Welsh justice system, healthcare system, and juvenile defendants with poor mental health” and another on “the impact of the U.K. Government’s Prevent Programme.” Most of her days, however, are occupied with assisting Wright as she serves the varying needs of her clients. Consequently, Biddle’s day-to-day plans are dynamic, offering her several vantage points from which to view the U.K. justice system.
“The criminal offences which our clients have been accused range greatly, so I have had the opportunity to learn about an array of U.K. criminal statues and their potential defenses,” she said. “Most of the time, I only know my schedule a day or two in advance which at times is difficult, but that is the nature of a barrister's work.”
For the rising senior, the stresses of tackling a topsy-turvy routine in a foreign country has been partially mitigated by a year of preparation. Prior to her summer internship, Biddle spent her junior year abroad at Cambridge University, where she acquainted herself academically with U.K. criminology.
“Through my courses, I have studied the English criminal justice and court systems in an academic sense, while also having the opportunity to join a class on conceptions of the rule of law that took place in a nearby prison,” she said. “This internship has been a wonderful way to experience a new part of the U.K. criminal justice system.”
Despite spending nearly a year away from Haverford, Biddle believes that the principles promoted by the College have guided her down the path she's pursued while abroad.
“I think Haverford's insistence on and unwavering belief in the value of a broad, liberal arts education has influenced my desire to have such a complete and personal interaction with this criminal justice system and all of its processes,” she reflected.
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.