One of my top criteria in choosing a law school was a school committed to public service. New England School of Law has fulfilled my public interest aspirations in more ways than I initially imagined.
The summer after my first year, I interned at the Family Advocacy Program at Boston Medical Center, now known as the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (MCLP). There, I worked with lawyers in collaboration with doctors and social service providers in a holistic approach to solving issues facing patients and their families. My caseload varied throughout the summer and included an immigration appeal, a Food Stamp clinic, an Individualized Educational Plan, and housing and utilities issues. It was thrilling to get my own caseload and see the intersections of so many areas of the law affecting children and families all at once. Following the internship at the MLPC, I co-chaired an annual Child Health Law Conference for law and medical students and open to the public.
I took advantage of clinical opportunities at both the in-house clinic at New England School of Law, through the Lawyering Process Clinic, and the Federal Courts Clinic with a placement at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston. At the school's in-house clinic, called the Clinical Law Office (CLO), I handled a highly contested custody case and several divorce cases, which taught me lawyering skills that I will carry over into practice. It was also an empowering experience to make arguments to the court on behalf of my client who felt the justice system had abandoned her. The U.S. Attorney's Office placement, where I worked both over the summer after my second year and in the fall of my third year through the Federal Courts Clinic, exposed my to a different, less direct, but effective type of public service. There, I worked on many different civil and criminal cases. Two highlights of the 6 month internship were watching a U.S. Attorney make an argument to the First Circuit Court of Appeals with arguments that we had worked on together for many months and arguing a social security disability appeal before the U.S. District Court myself.
As part of the New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement, I coordinated a Confinement Outreach Program (COP) at the Middlesex County Correctional Facility where twice a week students made presentations to inmates on a variety of legal topics with the aim of providing information about the justice system in an accessible way. For over 30 years, COP has been run by New England School of Law students and provides inmates with pro bono educational services and is a great opportunity for students to get real world lawyering experience.