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Stone Washington

Learning by Doing

A Q&A with Stone Washington, Juris Master student

During the fall semester, Professor Paul Koster facilitated a trip to the Northern District Court of Georgia with JM and LLM students from his Introduction to American Legal Systems class. They observed court proceedings with Clerk James Hatten and networked with Emory Law alumni Judge Mark Cohen and Judge Steven Grimberg. This course introduces the context and skills needed to navigate legal issues and the legal academy, including the case method, statutory analysis, and basic constitutional underpinnings of US law.

Stone Washington, a student in the on campus Juris Master program attended and shares his experience. 

What did you gain from the trip?

Traveling to a federal district court allowed me to see first-hand what I’ve learned in Professor Koster’s Intro to American Legal Systems class, including the differences between cases of general jurisdiction reviewed at the state court level and cases of limited jurisdiction reviewed at the federal court level. Clerk Hatten gave an in-depth tour of the court building, guiding our group through its illustrious halls and rooms where the federal judges and their staff preside.

Several judges shared their personal stories and experiences in their career paths including Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker.

How did the trip connect with topics you’re learning in the curriculum?

Having been an experienced Atlanta attorney who had many cases heard before the Northern District Court, Professor Koster was an expert on many aspects pertaining to proper courtroom procedure. As our group observed ongoing cases, he answered our questions and kept us informed about the context of both cases, which at times seemed complicated. I noticed when a judge overseeing one of the cases mentioned several concepts of contract law like illusory contracts and portions of the parole evidence rule, which we recently learned in our Contracts class with Professor Georgiev.

Why do you think it is important to observe court proceedings?

I view this trip as an invaluable experience for JM and LLM students at Emory Law and I will never forget it. Trips like this provide us with a unique and personal look into how the law is wielded and administered within a federal court environment. Learning shouldn’t be contained to classroom lessons alone. Walking past the court offices, sitting in on active court proceedings, and hearing the personal experiences and advice of current federal judges are enriching experiences that every student should participate in at some point during their time at Emory Law.

To be considered for admission into Emory Law’s Juris Master program, apply today.

students walking into court house

JM and LLM students file into the Northern District court building. Professor Paul Koster facilitates a trip to a district court every semester for students taking Introduction to American Legal Systems.