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.
A. Elyse Conte (Class of 2013)
I chose to attend law school because I have always liked the problem-solving aspect of the field. You are given a scenario and you need to either think of ways to solve the problems, or anticipate problems that are going to arise. Although I did not come to law school for the purpose of public service, New England Law | Boston has afforded me a number of opportunities that have broadened my view on the public service sector and allowed me to use my legal education to serve the community.
After taking Federal Personal Income Tax in the fall semester of my 2L year, I decided to volunteer with the Boston Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition (EITC) through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. As a VITA volunteer, I was certified by the IRS to help lower-income individuals in the Boston area prepare and file their return income taxes. What better way to help serve the community than put my knowledge in the tax arena to use helping others? After completing over 25 hours for the 2011 tax season I earned a Public Service Notation on my transcript. I have continued with my tax assistance for my second tax season, this year. I again hope to complete over 25 hours of service to earn another Public Service Transcript Notation.
During the spring semester of my 2L year, I was enrolled in the Lawyering Process Clinic. I was placed at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) in its foreclosure unit. Our division represented low-income families going through the foreclosure process. The unit focused on the foreclosure crisis, the predatory lending practices, and the defective or unlawful foreclosures that had occurred and are continuing to occur in the surrounding Boston area. By educating these families through holding clinics and community outreach meetings, the internship with GBLS afforded me a unique perspective on public interest law, dealing with families who may not have access to the legal system otherwise.
The summer after my 2L year, I clerked with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office in its Labor and Industries Division. I worked in a high-volume litigation setting assisting with filing motions for violations of the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), appeals of citation violations of unlicensed contractors, and workers compensation matters. I was able to witness firsthand that being a government attorney allows you a unique opportunity to do justice for the people of the state.
I feel these opportunities have really expanded my view on public interest law and have allowed me, as a law student, to impact the local community in a positive way while utilizing my legal education. I hope to continue my public service commitment after graduation.