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.
I always knew I wanted to go to law school but I never truly reflected on the area of law that interested me the most. I assumed I would just figure that out after my first year exposure, but by the end of my first semester I was still completely unsure. I decided I needed to see the law applied outside of law school, which is the reason I started volunteering at Shelter Legal Services the spring semester of my 1L year at their Multi-Service Center for the Homeless in Cambridge. Shelter Legal Services has law student volunteers conduct intakes for anyone who may want legal help and services if they fall under certain income guidelines. The experience of talking to people about their legal issues brought full circle some of the issues that we had been discussing in class along with the chance to help people in need. I enjoyed working for Shelter Legal Services so much that I have volunteered at their other locations my second and third year.
My second year was at Rosie’s Place, a shelter exclusively for women, and my third year was at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. I earned the school’s Public Service Transcript Notation twice for my volunteer work.
Shelter Legal Services initially sparked my interest in public interest, so when I heard there was a Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic I signed up the first semester I could. The seminar allowed me to hear about many various areas of law that involve public interest.
The in-house clinic was one of the most valuable experiences I have had in law school. It gave me a chance to experience handling cases in more depth under the SJC Rule 3:03, the student practice rule. The clinic provided me the opportunity to prepare for a trial concerning child custody, argue motions, write a complaint concerning the denial of Social Security benefits, and even represent a client at a criminal magistrates hearing. The clinic experience I gained under my supervisor, Professor Barbara Oro, was so beneficial that I applied and worked at the clinic over the summer, which provided me with even more invaluable in-court experience primarily in family law.
The summer after my second year I worked as an intern at the school’s Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy, part of the Center for Law and Social Responsibility, which provided me with insight into the nonprofit area of law. As an intern I researched and wrote memorandums about various foreign laws concerning anti-tobacco policy and how they were achieved in each of those countries. The information I researched was included in a seminar for public officials in implementing their own anti-tobacco laws in their respective jurisdictions.
My third year, I served as president of OUTLaws, the LGBT organization on campus. I led different projects that supported groups such as The Trevor Project, an anti-bullying organization, and the Massachusetts AIDS Action Committee. I also participated in the Criminal Procedure II Clinic and was placed at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Roxbury office, which gave me insight as to the role of a prosecutor. Again, I was certified under the student practice rule and handled cases in court.
New England Law | Boston has provided me with numerous opportunities to work first hand in public service, which will surely help me in pursuing future endeavors.