Inside the Walls of the Federal Courthouse

A few weeks ago the Daemen paralegal studies program took a field trip the the Robert H. Jackson United States Federal Courthouse in downtown Buffalo. For many of the paralegals in the program, it was the first time inside the walls of the massive and elegant new courthouse. Adjacent to Buffalo’s City Hall, the courthouse is an impressive and jaw-dropping modern style building with the Constitution etched into the large glass walls at the entry level. As one of the kind men who showed students around the courthouse said, the glass and etchings all throughout symbolize the “transparency of the government.”

Program director Margaret Phillips coordinated this opportunity for the group. It is one thing to speak about court processes and functions in a classroom, but having the ability to actually meet with technology experts, a magistrate judge, and many other intelligent figures in the court was an extremely rewarding experience.

Paralegal Studies student Kelsey Klindt claimed, “Going on the trip to the federal courthouse was an amazing experience and I highly recommend going to the courthouse even if you are not studying anything that has to do with law. Seeing the judge’s quarters and talking to one of the Judges was really exciting.”

Talking about what we learned she said, “One thing I learned from this trip is that courthouses are very safe. They make sure that the judge does not have to come into contact with the defendant or their family. The judges stand is made of the same thing bulletproof vests are made out of, Kevlar. This trip was very beneficial and more exciting than learning about it in a classroom setting.”

I think many of the students on the trip were in agreement, that the courthouse trip was eye opening and very rewarding, regardless if they were pursuing legal studies or not.

Feedback was also given from Phillips, who coordinated the trip. To give a brief insight to the paralegal studies program for prospective students she said, “The paralegal studies program is a place where you can get practical skills in critical analysis and problem-solving through attorney instructors, field trips, and exciting guest speakers.”

As Phillips has said on numerous occasions, there is so much one can do with a major or certificate in paralegal studies. There are opportunities in many fields beyond law alone. The Paralegal Studies program can appeal to prospective students of several disciplines.

Reflecting on the trip to the courthouse, Phillips said, “College is a time when students need to explore, get out of their comfort zone, and have new experiences. The paralegal studies program tries to accomplish this by offering field trips; the most recent one was a trip to downtown Buffalo on February 26 to the new federal courthouse. Being in such a formal and elegant setting allows students to experience one aspect of the legal profession that they wouldn’t otherwise experience. And just being downtown widens their horizons! Our field trips next semester will be open to ALL students, regardless of major.”

This trip to the Robert H. Jackson United States Federal Courthouse in downtown Buffalo is not the only opportunity in the program to expand horizons into the fascinating field of law. Guest speakers, highly regarded attorneys in the field, other trips, and so much more are helping to tailor the paralegal studies program into a realm of esteem.


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