A new internship in the Hamilton County Juvenile Court Clerk’s office is being offered to Legal Assistance Studies (LAS) and Criminal Justice majors at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The Juvenile Court Clerk is an elected position which serves “as a hub for processing and maintaining all legal documents for the Juvenile Court,” according to the Hamilton County government website.

A UTC student intern will assist with the maintenance of docket and minute books, filing, and will become involved in numerous functions of the office, according to newly appointed Juvenile Court Clerk Gary Behler, who has been an adjunct professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Assistance Studies at UTC for 21 years.

“This internship will merge the student’s academic training with practical experience,” said Behler. “It will also confirm whether a student is in the correct field, and it could help narrow the student’s academic focus. This will help a student learn how the system works and what a work day is like in the field they are considering for their profession.”

Behler added that the Hamilton County Juvenile Court Clerk’s office is a great place for students to begin making professional contacts and building their professional network.

“The student will work with the office staff, and be able to interact with decision makers and attorneys,” Behler said. “I personally had the opportunity to participate in three internships during my undergraduate and graduate studies and found the experiences invaluable.”

This new partnership will provide an unusual opportunity for UTC students, according to LAS Coordinator Karen McGuffee.

“Hearings in Juvenile Court are not open to the public, to protect the privacy of delinquent youths and those involved in dependency and neglect cases.

“Our students will be exposed to a different way to practice the law. The focus there is more on rehabilitation. This is one more way UTC works with partners in the community to offer experiential learning to our students,” McGuffee said.

LAS students must apply for the internship with McGuffee, who can be reached for details by emailing Karen-McGuffee@utc.edu or by calling 423-425-2137.

Criminal Justice students must apply with Dr. Tammy Garland, who can be reached by emailing Tammy-Garland@utc.edu or by calling 423-425-5245.

To contact Gary Behler, please email gbehler@hamiltontn.gov or call 423-209-5271.

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