New England Law | Boston students perform public service work through clinical courses, student groups, and employment, both paid and volunteer.
Students may obtain transcript recognition for approved public service legal work through the Public Service Transcript Notation Program.
Mary Hutton (Class of 2011)
I decided to become a lawyer because I wanted a job where I could use my intellect to help people. But while I entered law school knowing that I wanted to work in the field of public interest law, that was as specific as my ambitions had yet become. Taking part in the clinical programs that New England Law | Boston offers has given me a clearer idea of the ways in which lawyers can work for the benefit of those most in need.
I participated in the Immigration Law Clinic as a second-year student. As part of my clinical placement, I worked on several asylum cases, doing research and writing legal briefs on behalf of clients facing deportation to countries where they feared for their lives due to religious persecution. I also worked intensively on a U-Visa petition for a domestic violence survivor who feared deportation after going to the police. The following summer, I worked for an international nonprofit that seeks to aid victims of gender and sexual orientation-based persecution. My employers told me that my previous clinical experience was a crucial factor in their decision to hire me.
Another great opportunity I had was to work in New England Law’s Clinical Law Office, which provides legal services to clients who could not otherwise afford them. I was certified under SJC Rule 3.03, the Student Practice Rule, which meant that I was able to represent my own clients in court proceedings as a student attorney, while receiving guidance and supervision from the practicing attorneys at the clinic. Many of these clients were domestic violence survivors, whom the clinic helped with restraining orders, child support, and other legal matters.
During my third year of law school I was wait-listed for the Criminal Procedure II Clinic. Although I did not receive a placement, I was referred to the Committee For Public Counsel Services’ Framingham office, where I began working in the fall. As it turned out, I loved working at the Public Defender’s Office so much that I stayed for the entire year. During this time, I also worked with the New England Innocence Project, helping to investigate a possible case of wrongful conviction. I met Dennis Maher, a man who was imprisoned for years for crimes that he did not commit. These experiences were truly inspirational and drove home the need for good lawyers to represent those with fewer resources.
My time at New England Law | Boston has given me many opportunities to try out different avenues of public interest law while gaining the knowledge and experience that will hopefully enable me to make a positive contribution as an attorney.