Mark Scialdone (Class of 2009)
While there are countless benefits of engaging in public interest opportunities during law school, perhaps one of the greatest benefits is that it confirmed my desire to pursue a public interest career path after graduation. Many students come to law school with a desire to engage in some form of public interest work after graduation. However, students are often deterred from doing so for a variety of reasons. In my opinion, engaging in public interest work as a law student opened my eyes to many different career opportunities and solidified my desire to seek public interest work after graduation.
During my second year of law school, I was a student attorney at the Clinical Law Office at New England School of Law. In addition to arguing motions before the Court, I represented clients in hearings, performed in-take interviews, and conducted legal research. I thoroughly enjoyed this clinical experience and decided to enroll in an International Criminal Process Clinic in The Netherlands during the spring semester. As an intern at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, I worked under the supervision of international lawyers and obtained practical international criminal law experience.
Importantly, these experiences gave me skills which were necessary for public interest projects that I undertook in my third year of law school. During the fall semester, I worked with Professor Dina Francesca Haynes on an Immigration Law Project. Students can become involved in a variety of different projects relating to immigration, refugee and asylum, migration, and human rights. My particular project involved assisting attorneys at an area firm on a Tibetan asylum case. As a group, we performed legal research and collaborated on an extensive supplemental brief in support of asylum for two Tibetans.
The connections I made during these experiences led to my current internship with a local immigration attorney, and I am certain that I will utilize these connections in the future. Moreover, these experiences were invaluable in teaching me the skills necessary to be a successful and competent lawyer upon graduation. There are many ways to get involved in public interest opportunities, and I would highly recommend New England School of Law to anyone who desires a public interest career.