Matthew Gabriel ’11 Makes Case for D.A. Office Internship

Matthew Gabriel '11
Matthew Gabriel '11
Matthew Gabriel ’11 has a fondness for phrases like “a more perfect Union” and “the Blessings of Liberty.” To him, the elegant script that cried for a fledgling country to “establish justice” and “promote the general welfare” is still relevant today. For many, the Preamble of the Constitution is just a Schoolhouse Rock song. But Gabriel’s intended career depends on how the entire work is interpreted. This summer, he is working at the Kings County District Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, N.Y., in their Early Case Assessment Bureau (ECAB). His internship reinforces his interest in justice and law.

The ECAB focuses on the first stages of a case that is brought before the DA’s office, and is the most prestigious college internship they offer. Gabriel’s responsibilities are to write case complaints that help the assistant district attorneys prosecute more effectively when they go to court. To do this, he speaks to officers and victims of crimes in order to compile the events leading up to the arrest of the defendant. Gabriel says that he works with a variety of cases ranging from inane misdemeanors like walking between subway cars to more serious assault and harassment cases. Through speaking with people over the phone and in person, he has gained a number of valuable communication skills.

Gabriel is a government major and plans to attend law school. He enjoys his internship because it emphasizes interpretation and thorough scrutiny of a case. He also says that his job and the Constitution have much in common. “Both require you to work within certain parameters, but both allow you the freedom to come to your own conclusion,” he said. “You are given a list of facts and you have to put together the pieces in order to come to a valid and defendable conclusion, and that process is a lot of fun to me.”

It is also an internship that results in very few trips to Starbucks or the copy machine. Gabriel is out in the real world struggle between crime and punishment. He is thankful for the Joseph F. Anderson Fund, which is open to students in all academic majors who secure a full-time, unpaid internship for the summer. If it were not for the stipend he received, he would have been bagging groceries in a Colorado small town this summer – a job that does not exactly advance his knowledge of law.

Instead, his internship allows him to allocate time toward studying for the LSATs and learning to live on his own. Although he wants to go to law school after Hamilton, he is unsure of what sector he will pursue. He is enthusiastic about sports law, as he professes to play every intramural sport he can fit into his schedule. Constitutional law is another possibility. Whatever the case may be, Gabriel wishes to improve the quality of life for the ordinary citizen.

“This job just goes to show that people don’t have to know your name for you to make a real, tangible difference, and that is a fantastic feeling,” he noted.

When it comes time to apply for summer jobs, Gabriel suggests that students keep an open mind. “Don’t limit yourself. It isn’t vital to have an internship that relates exactly to your future plans, because I can almost guarantee your future plans will change before you leave the Hill.” While some persistent students will prove Gabriel wrong and obtain their life-long dream job, others will find that it takes much more experimentation to come to a reliable verdict.

Gabriel is a graduate of Montrose High School.
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