Given that both of his parents are practicing attorneys, it’s no wonder that Knute Gailor ’13 has had an interest in law since his childhood. Gailor began his first hands-on exploration of law-related career fields this past year by interning at the Public Integrity Section (PIN) of the Department of Justice while participating in Hamilton’s Washington, D.C. Program.
PIN’s mission is to prosecute all elected and appointed officials charged with corruption or abuse of their positions. Some of the agency’s past high profile work includes the three-year long case against former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich for the attempted sale of President Obama’s former Senate seat and the more recent case against former Senator John Edwards for alleged campaign finance fraud.
Gailor, a history major and world politics minor, decided to continue his internship into the summer because he believes that “ensuring that nobody is above the law is … admirable and important work.” His summer internship is made possible by a stipend from the Summer Internship Support Fund, which is administered by Hamilton’s Maurice Horowitch Career Center.
While the duties Gailor performs are typical of many of the interns at PIN, they are nonetheless essential for the smooth operation of the section and helpful for his preparation for a career in law. His responsibilities include organizing trial documents, managing case databases, preparing trial exhibits, working with attorneys on investigations and coordinating projects with other interns. Because of his extensive past experience interning at PIN during the Washington Semester, Gailor has also had the opportunity to work on a number of high profile cases and fill in for full time paralegals.
One of the most rewarding aspects of interning at PIN, according to Gailor, is the opportunity to work with its talented attorneys, paralegals and other staff. He said, “PIN reminds me, in a lot of ways, of the Hill: everyone is extraordinarily talented and committed to their work, but friendly and welcoming, too.” Such comparisons between PIN and Hamilton are not difficult to understand, as Gailor works with a number of fellow Hamilton interns and Department of Justice Trial Attorney and Hamilton alumna Tracee Plowell ’95.
Gailor noted that that his time at PIN has reinforced for him the uniqueness of the United States government because, unlike many other nations, it funds and sponsors an organization dedicated solely toward investigating and prosecuting public officials for corruption. He believes that playing even the relatively small role of an intern at PIN is rewarding for the difference it makes in keeping corruption out of all levels of government.
Gailor’s internship at PIN has solidified his drive to attend law school and prepared him for many of the challenges he will encounter. Furthermore, his internship experience has impressed upon him a greater sense of public service, and he says that no matter what field of law he chooses to pursue in the future, he hopes to find the same sense of satisfaction and purpose that he has felt at PIN.
Gailor is a graduate of Granby Memorial High School (Conn.)