Cassandra Feeney (Class of 2011)
The first clinic I participated in was the Massachusetts Practice Clinic, where I worked both in the Suffolk Superior Court Clerk’s office and with the Honorable Geraldine Hines. This experience provided me with a practical opportunity to learn Massachusetts civil procedure and to prosecute or defend properly a civil case in Massachusetts. Specifically, the clerk’s office taught me about the flow of paperwork in the court, and working with Judge Hines provided me with valuable experience in taking an objective approach in interpreting and applying the law.
I continued to work with Judge Hines the next semester through the Honors Judicial Clerkship Program. I was able to work on more complex cases and see the final disposition of some cases I worked on the previous semester. As I spent more time at the courthouse, I noticed many unrepresented litigants struggle while trying to maneuver through the legal system. These observations inspired me to pursue a placement with New England Law | Boston’s Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic the following semester.
During my third year, I participated in the Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic, focusing my work on family law matters. The Public Interest Clinic became my most valuable law school experience. I had the opportunity to work face-to-face with clients and I got a real sense of what it means to practice law: I handled my own caseload, interviewed clients, drafted pleadings, and negotiated with opposing counsel. Best of all, I was directly involved in the legal fight to help disadvantaged populations overcome adversity.
In my final semester, I am taking my fourth clinic, the Federal Courts Clinic. My placement is at the United States Attorney’s Office, in the Civil Division. This clinic has provided me with yet another perspective on serving the public through broader policy changes at the federal level, while refining my civil litigation skills.
Overall, the clinic programs have brought me closer to accomplishing one of my professional goals: to help disadvantaged populations. Each clinic provided me with an opportunity to view public service through a new lens. My involvement in the clinics has been very rewarding, as it has taught me that helping others is not a personal sacrifice, but rather presents a valuable opportunity to practice and use my skills and talents for the improvement of the community. Ultimately, I feel that the clinic programs have given me both the confidence and the practical skills required to practice law—something that I could not have achieved through classroom learning alone.