McKayla is the newest and youngest employee at GRL Law. Prior to coming to work with the GRL family, McKayla interned at the Polk County Attorney’s Office, the largest prosecutor’s office in the state of Iowa. This experience has given her a valuable perspective into both sides of our criminal justice system. We asked her if she would be willing to share. Fortunately, she agreed. This is what she wrote:
After graduating from University of Northern Iowa in May 2018, I started an Internship with the Polk County Attorney’s Office. During my internship, I worked with Juvenile Court and assisted with the prosecution of Operating While Intoxicated cases. While at Polk County I thought that cases where black and white, right and wrong, Good Guys against the Bad Guys. A person got behind the wheel of a vehicle and drove it while they under the influence or committed some other crime. They were wrong, they should be punished. It was simple. At the time, I did not have an understanding or appreciation of what defenses could be made or how thorough defenses were utilized to protect and preserve the rights of an accused.
In my mind, Prosecutors were the Good Guys. I wanted to be part of the Good Guys team; after all, they were on the side of justice. I enjoyed my time and experiences at Polk County Attorney’s Office, but a full-time position was not available at the end of my internship. As my time with Polk County ended, one of the Assistant County Attorneys told me about a job opportunity that she felt would be a good fit for me. Cue, GRL Law.
Being the savvy college graduate that I was, I did a little background research. It did not take long to learn that they defended people accused of crimes. In fact, they defended A LOT of people accused of Operating While Intoxicated offenses. I wasn’t about to take a job without getting my parent’s opinions. I remember telling both my mom and dad, that this job opportunity was at a law firm that did a lot of criminal defense, much of which was defending Operating While Intoxicated cases. I also remember telling them that I could never see the point in someone driving drunk and that in my opinion, there was no good excuse someone could give for doing so. I was worried that I would have to sacrifice my values if I worked.