In the spring of my next-to-last year at law school (third year, as an evening division student), I enrolled in the Lawyering Process clinic. I chose a placement at Greater Boston Legal Services, where I worked with elderly clients on various issues. The majority of my work consisted of helping clients retain their Social Security benefits and food stamps.
The work was both enlightening and rewarding, and allowed me to quench my thirst for making a difference while gaining legal experience, including litigation skills. I also learned how frustrating it can be for many people to try to deal with government bureaucracies, and how important having a skilled advocate to help them can be.
My second and third clinical experiences have been with the Massachusetts Public Defenders Office (CPCS), defending indigent clients facing criminal charges. I enrolled in the school’s Criminal Procedure II Clinic in the fall and liked my placement so much that I was able to stay on for credit through the school’s Advanced Clinic.
Defending people who would otherwise not be able to afford an attorney is a tremendous opportunity. I work on cases ranging from simple drug possession, to larceny, and assault and battery; all include severe consequences should the client be found guilty.
The experience has certainly bolstered my understanding of criminal law and has also provided me with an inside glimpse as to how the criminal justice system operates. I am enjoying the work at CPCS so much that I hope to work here full time after graduation. I believe my clinic experiences have provided me with the training and experience to make that goal a real possibility.