Zoe Paolantonio (Class of 2009)
I came to law school because I wanted to help women. I stepped into New England Law | Boston armed with a degree in history from Ithaca College, and a background in feminist activism with the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and as a counselor at a reproductive health center. My goal was to learn how to be an attorney: the ultimate advocate.
Beginning in the fall of 2009 I will be the Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Northeastern University Domestic Violence Institute. New England Law | Boston gave me the tools to do this work and I am graduating with the opportunity to do exactly what I want to do. NEL|B's Women's Law Caucus introduced me to a volunteer position as a student legal advocate at the Domestic Violence Institute. Through this work, and for the past three years, I have advocated for domestic violence victims in the emergency department of the Boston Medical Center. I was a staff member on New England Law's Center of Law and Social Responsibility's Judicial Language Project. As a participant I analyzed and critiqued the language used in judicial decisions regarding sexual assault cases, with the objective of teaching the legal community how to talk about rape and other sexual assaults. I was also a member of New England Law's Child Welfare and Adoption Law moot court team. My team members and I competed in the National Child Welfare and Adoption Law Moot Court Competition in Columbus, OH. There we argued our case in front of distinguished judges and advocates from the national family law community. Finally, as an associate member of New England Law Review, I explored federal abortion law in my case comment and Massachusetts health care reform in my note.
In addition to my work during the school year, my summer work prepared me for a career in public interest law. After my first year, I worked for a solo practitioner, wrote Violence Against Women Act petitions on behalf of battered immigrants, and crafted arguments for a serious political asylum case. After my second year, I was a legal intern at Health Law Advocates. I represented my own clients in matters against Mass. Health, their insurance companies, and health care providers.
Now I am very excited to go on to work in the women's health care policy field at my fellowship, where I will integrate my advocacy skills, hospital and health policy knowledge, and my passion for social justice for women to improve the lives of domestic violence victims at the Boston Medical Center. My education and experiences at New England Law | Boston are what made this possible.