Bethany Parsons (Class of 2009)
One of the main reasons I came to New England Law | Boston was its well established clinical programs. Before coming to law school, I planned to practice in medical malpractice defense. Because my mother did her residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, I was instantly attracted to the Health Law Clinic. However, after beginning my studies at New England Law, I found myself being led into a different direction. I became involved in the Women’s Law Caucus during my first year and have been involved with that student group ever since. During my second year and third years, I served as the secretary of the group and as the co-chair for its annual fundraising event, the Follies & Roast. All proceeds of this event benefit the Mary Joe Frug grant recipients who dedicate their summers to furthering the interests of women.
The first clinic I took was the Mediation Clinic during the fall semester of my second year. I was placed at Mediation Works, Inc., a Boston firm that provides dispute resolution services and training. Through this clinic, I was able to take Mediation Works's forty-hour mediation training to become a trained mediator. Since completing the training, I have volunteered my time to mediate small claims cases in the area district courts of Boston every chance I am able, usually several times a month. These cases have been extremely interesting and have given me a great opportunity to perfect my active listening skills and learn to handle difficult and emotional mediations. My listening and communication skills have greatly improved since joining its panel of mediators.
The second clinic I participated in was the Criminal Procedure II clinic. I joined the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in the Dorchester District Court during the fall of my third year. In this capacity, I served as a Rule 3:03 certified student district attorney. I had the opportunity to represent the Commonwealth in numerous arraignments, bail review hearings, and pretrial conferences. I also performed legal research, writing, and investigations, and assisted in client interviews. This experience was invaluable in preparing me to speak confidently to judges and other attorneys and to think on my feet.
During my third year at New England Law I also had the opportunity to participate in the ABA Client Counseling Competition. My partner Adonia Simpson ('09) and I were chosen from the interscholastic competition to represent New England Law at the regional competition. We placed first in the regional competition, beating student teams from all over New England, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. We proceeded to the National Competition in North Carolina and finished eighth in the nation. This competition provided practical learning opportunities and exposed us to many issues including difficult clients, attorneys’ fees, and other practical matters that we would not normally encounter in law school.
Each of these clinics and student opportunities added perspective to my legal education and gave me invaluable hands-on experience. I was able to perfect practical skills and get to know myself as an attorney while I was still receiving the education to become one. I am confident that these skills and experiences will serve me well during my future as an attorney.