Summer fellowship program builds resumes, opens doors, helps students become practice ready
(Boston, Revised-9/18/13) New England Law | Boston: “Research and discovery” had a slightly different meaning this summer in the tear-down room of Mintz Levin’s
Boston headquarters, where Serge Subach ’14 dissected cameras, televisions, and computers to document their contents. Subach was one of more than 80 New England Law | Boston students who participated in a new summer fellowship program. All gained experience and made valuable connections while receiving stipends for 10-week positions.
“I tinkered with computers and cars when I was younger but always had to put them back together,” laughed Subach. At Mintz, time was of the essence in on-going IP litigation cases, so reassembly was not required.
Subach noted that “teardowns of technology” are a regular part of patent litigation, and he is seeking to parlay his mechanical engineering background into a patent law career. “This was a fantastic opportunity for me, and it was great to be at a big firm like this,” he said. He hopes eventually to find work in a large tech company either as an in-house attorney or as a member of a patent group.
Valuable experience and preparation
“These fellowships are part of our continuing effort to help students become as prepared as possible for the practice of law,” said Dean John F. O’Brien
. Center for Business Law
(CBL) placements included real estate, intellectual property, health law, medical malpractice, and insurance defense, among other areas. Center for Law and Social Responsibility
(CLSR) placements offered law students the opportunity to work with practitioners with a public interest focus.
“I learned more than I ever expected,” said Jayde Matchem ’15, who was placed with Associate Justice Robert Foster of the Massachusetts Land Court
. “Judge Foster offered great advice on litigation, attorney conduct, property law, and legal writing, and at the same time I learned about areas of law such as zoning, takings, and mortgages in greater detail.”
“Firsts” for a fellow and her clients
Erin Gaudreau ’14 had her share of “firsts” this summer with the Rhode Island Public Defender
, including handling arraignments and pretrial conferences and taking the lead in courtroom appearances. Many of her largely young, indigent clients were having new experiences as well. “This was the first time they’ve been in trouble and had to be accountable for their actions, and (the first time) that someone expressed that they care about them,” she said.
Gaudreau’s officemates included Elaine Brunetti ’99 and Robert Laren ’95. “It was a great bonding experience and great to know that I have alumni to reach out to,” she said.
Hayat Bearat ’14 learned through Human Rights Watch
’s new disability rights division
about pervasive challenges facing the disabled. Roughly 15 percent of the world’s population has a disability, and many struggle to obtain essential freedoms. Indigenous women with disabilities face additional obstacles, she said.
“For example, in India, women with disabilities who have been raped may not be able to consent or withhold consent to a medical assessment on their own,” explained Bearat. “Some have to go through their families to make these decisions, due to the doctor's opinion that they do not have the legal capacity to make them.”
“The perfect fit for me”
Johnson wrote briefs for the center’s Immigration Legal Services
, assisted “U Visa” applicants (for immigrants who are victims of qualifying crimes), and researched evidence and case law. She also improved her Spanish skills (Johnson already knew Arabic and is learning Hindi) and worked on a presentation to the center about the intersection of immigration law and HIV/AIDS, a topic in which she has a longstanding interest.
“I’m very new to immigration law and wanted to see what it was like to become a lawful immigrant to the U.S.,” she said. Johnson worked closely with managing attorney Adonia Simpson ’09 and other center staff and saw the fellowship as a potential career turning point. “I definitely think that it steered me in the right direction and want to continue with immigration law. This was the perfect fit for me, and I can see myself doing it for quite some time.”