My first experience was through the Center for Law and Social Responsibility’s Public Interest Summer Fellowship Program. I was lucky enough to secure a placement with Veterans Legal Services, a nonprofit that provides free legal advice and representation to homeless and low-income veterans in the Greater Boston area. The placement could not have been better suited for me.
I was able to interact with clients on a daily basis while gaining practical legal skills. I helped perform intake interviews with prospective clients, researched substantive legal issues, and drafted correspondence to clients and opposing parties. Perhaps most importantly, the supervising attorneys at Veterans Legal Services are beyond reproach and always ensured that I was learning best practices and the most effective way to represent the client. It was a perfect fit!
I loved the placement so much that I continued working there during the fall semester of my second year of law school, through the Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic. I was able to appear before a judge and represent clients in court, having been certified under the student practice rule, SJC Rule 3:03.
I was so excited the first time that I spoke before a judge that I knew that my place was in the courtroom, advocating for clients. Through this placement, I developed my legal skills while making a tangible difference in individuals’ lives.
In the summer following my second year, I had privilege of being an Honors Judicial Intern for the Honorable Bonnie H. MacLeod at Suffolk County Superior Court. This was an invaluable experience as I observed many different court proceedings in a variety of areas of law. Additionally, I honed my legal research and writing skills through writing draft decisions and legal memorandums for the judge. This further solidified my desire to be in a courtroom working on cases.
In my final semester of my third year, I secured a placement in the Criminal Procedure II Clinic with the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) Roxbury/Dorchester division. Again practicing under SJC Rule 3:03, I appeared in court on behalf of clients for bail hearings and other various motions. Being on your feet making an argument before a judge is unlike any other experience. It was thrilling and scary all at once.
Through my clinical experiences at New England Law | Boston I found my calling. Advocating for a client, whether in or out of a courtroom, has the ability to change a person’s circumstances and improve their quality of life. I have the capacity to make a difference and I can think of no better calling, and am truly grateful for the clinical experiences that have guided me to this path.