Alice Lee (Class of 2013)
Between my first and second years, I worked at Neighborhood Legal Services, an organization that serves indigent litigants in civil matters. I drafted pleadings for ongoing housing cases and represented tenants two days per week in mediation. I loved this position and learned a lot from the experience.
Because I believed that I wanted to pursue a career in environmental law, in the fall semester of my 2L year I interned for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) through the Environmental Law Clinic. In that clinic, I spent most of my time researching and writing memos about pending litigation and a variety of legal issues pertaining to the state’s environmental regulations. I had a positive and enriching experience at the DEP, but I missed interacting with clients.
Starting in January of my 2L year, I began to work with an attorney who has maintained a solo practice for four decades, frequently representing clients with wage and hour as well as discrimination claims. Many of his clients are indigent, and I appreciated learning about how to make a livable income while also being an advocate for justice. I also discovered that I love many aspects of employment law.
In the summer between my second and third years, I continued to work in that law office while also spending two days each week working with the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee. I assisted one of the staff attorneys with discrimination claims by researching legal issues, analyzing client cases as well as drafting and revising pleadings. This experience introduced me to different areas of employment law, such as ERISA and disability insurance coverage.
In the spring of my 3L year, I am enrolled in the Administrative Law Clinic, working in the Enforcement Division of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). With the EEOC, I have been able to analyze dozens of discrimination cases, assessing their viability for litigation. By participating in the investigation of claims, I have been able to view cases through the eyes of both parties. This position has allowed me to hone my skills in communicating with employers and employees while also allowing me to apply my legal training as I advise the division about whether the case should proceed or result in a “no cause” finding.
I am grateful for the many practical experiences I have had while at New England Law because they have helped me to uncover my interests and develop my legal skills. I would encourage future law students to pursue as many educational opportunities outside the classroom as possible. Practicing public interest law is often a great way to work on a wide range of legal tasks while also assisting clients, who will teach you about fundamental rights and how to work on urgent matters in difficult circumstances.