Eileen Meghan Foley (Class of 2005)
As my time at New England School of Law has passed many of my personal ideals and goals have evolved. When I started law school I never imagined that I would become actively involved in the pursuits of public interest law. However, I found the opportunities to be involved in the public interest arena abundant and public service is both embraced and encouraged by the faculty and students.
The summer after my second year I interned with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, where I prepared and presented civil commitment and guardianship cases to the various courts of Southeastern Massachusetts. This experience strengthened my commitment to public service as I found it very rewarding to help assure that the best interests of those afflicted with mental illness were protected by guardians while the clients received the appropriate treatments.
After taking a Family Law class, as well as classes on Children and the Law and Juvenile Law, I began to think about a career advocating for children who suffer from abuse and neglect. It was these classes that led me to enroll in the Family Law Clinic at New England. I found my own placement at Aid to Incarcerated Mothers. The organization's mission is to help women who are either presently incarcerated or have been recently released from the penal system rebuild their lives. Most of the clients had been incarcerated on drug offenses and their children were in the custody of the Department of Social Services. My job was to help these women try to regain custody of their children or at the very least to gain visitation. I worked with many different women, all of whom had similar problems; they were young, poor and uneducated and they did not have the resources or the knowledge to rebuild their lives by themselves. After my work with Aid to Incarcerated Mothers I began to truly understand that people need the help and resources in order to better their lives.
Also in my third year I became the Treasurer of the Public Interest Law Association at New England School of Law. The goal of the organization is to serve the community and educate students on public interest. The organization's executive board and I strived to provide the students with the knowledge that there are many diverse opportunities available in the public interest law field.
My experiences over the last three years have changed who I am as a person and my ideals are continually evolving. I was once the girl who was aware of all those in need and the opportunities to help the community, but I had never committed myself to any cause. I am now a person who strongly believes that because I have been given so much in life, I need to give to those less fortunate. I believe that the lessons learned and experiences gained while attending law school should be used to help those who are unable to advocate for themselves. Finally I intend not only to look back upon all the experiences I have had in public interest law fondly, but I intend to use these experiences to better serve my community.