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Inside the NYC District Attorney’s Office with Frances Coy ’18

Coy-Frances_edit-233x350 Inside the NYC District Attorney's Office with Frances Coy '18Frances Coy ’18

I think a misconception with accounting is that it is always just crunching numbers, which is definitely not the case.

Q. Where did you complete your internship?

This past summer I interned at the New York City District Attorney’s office in the Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigation Bureau.

Q. What did an average day for you look like?

I really enjoyed my internship, because there was never an “average” day. At the beginning of the summer, all of the interns were paired with an investigator who they worked closely with throughout the summer. On some days, I helped my investigator organize and sort through the financial statements of an individual in a case he was working on. Other days, I went to the courtroom and watched a trial of a specific case. I also sat in on multiple meetings with assistant district attorneys and other investigators. It was exciting to hear their perspectives on a case.

Q. What did you enjoy most about your internship?

I think a misconception with accounting is that it is always just crunching numbers, which is definitely not the case. At the DA’s office, I got a good sense of how law relates to finance. I thought it was really interesting being able to see how the two intermingle.

Q. How did W&L prepare you for this experience?

During spring term of my junior year, I took Anatomy of a Fraud with Professor Hess. It was the perfect preparation for my summer internship, because I learned all about fraud in general, the motives behind committing fraud, and the quantitative aspect. I valued being able to use my knowledge from that class in a real-world setting.

Q. What skills did you learn while there?

During my internship, attention to detail and being methodical was important when entering and organizing data. My investigator and others at the DA are expert witnesses, and when going to the grand jury they have to be confident the information is accurate.

Q. How will these skills be used in your future career? Has the internship influenced your future career choices?

I think attention to detail and use of accounting in varied business and legal situations was enlightening and will be very useful going forward. I am excited for my future career path, and my internship at the DA’s office was further confirmation of this. I am currently in the process of figuring out my next steps, but I hope to become a Certified Public Accountant one day.

Q. Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?

This internship was definitely out of my comfort zone. Not only did I learn about how both investigators and prosecutors gather evidence for white-collar crimes, but also how that information is used to convict a criminal.