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.
Whitney Dodds (Class of 2011)
Before I decided to attend law school, I was interested in a career in public health. I even considered pursuing a master’s degree in public health, but in the end decided to go to law school instead. My ultimate goal was to find a career where I could help people and communities. I believed that a law degree would give me the tools to create positive change. One reason I was drawn to New England Law | Boston was the clinic opportunities and a clear commitment among the school’s faculty to public interest work.
During my first year of law school, I simply focused on getting through the year. I did some public interest work during the summer after my 1L year at Shelter Legal Services and AIDS Action Committee. Then, during the first semester of my 2L year I enrolled in the Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic at the New England Law | Boston Clinical Law Office. As a legal intern at the New England Law Clinical Law Office I was given a great deal of responsibility. Under the supervision of an attorney, I had my own cases and clients, which required me to negotiate with opposing counsel, appear in court, and prepare a variety of legal documents. My public interest clinic experience was invaluable to me as it gave me the confidence to enter the workforce knowing that I have the essential legal skills to be successful.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the public interest legal work I did up to this point, I wanted to find a way to combine a law degree with my interest in public health. Lucky for me, during my 2L year Professor Berman started the Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy at New England Law | Boston upon receipt of a grant from the New York State Health Department. I started work with the center in January 2010, as a work-study student. I continued working with the center full time during the summer after my 2L year, and again during the spring semester of my 3L year.
As a law clerk for the Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy I assisted in writing model legislation, co-authored a technical report on licensing tobacco retailers, and researched a variety of tobacco control legal issues. Working at the center gave me hands on experience in an area of law I felt passionate about. Moreover, I was mentored by attorneys who are experts in the field of public health law. They have served as invaluable resources for my professional development.
I cannot possibly stress enough how supportive members of the New England Law faculty and staff have been throughout my time as a student. Overall, my experiences at both the Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic and at the Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy were instrumental in developing my skills, building a legal network, and strengthening my commitment to public interest work.