Tabitha Marjorie Mitchell (Class of 2005)
Public interest, in general, has always been an important aspect of my life. Even before I came to New England School of Law (NESL) I focused on public interest through volunteering within my local community. As an undergraduate student I participated in many volunteering activities, such as volunteering at women's shelters, participating in city beautification projects, volunteering with the Ronald McDonald House Foundation, and I was active in my local Big Brother/Big Sister Program.
At the start of my legal education at New England School of Law my volunteering declined due to school commitments and stresses, but I wanted to continue helping those within our community. I decided to explore ways in which my legal career could be used in helping those within our community that may not have or know of legal resources available to them.
New England School of Law offers many outlets for students to get involved in the public service aspect of the law. One of the many ways in which students can get involved, in which I participated, is the clinics offered through the school. The clinics are not only a great way to explore areas of the law that may interest you, but they are also a great way to connect with and reach out to those within the community that are in need of quality legal services. Another way to explore pubic service options while at New England School of Law is through the many student organizations. Many of the student organizations place some emphasis on service and helping the community.
My first year at New England School of Law was primarily focused on the required first year legal courses, thus my second year at New England School of Law was truly the beginning of my legal education. During my second year, in addition to taking the required courses, I participated in the Government Lawyer Clinic, which placed me in the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. This clinic exposed me to how the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office works to protect the people of the state. This clinic, in combination with my classes directed my interest towards governmental work, which I felt would allow me, through the law, to help the general community.
My third year at New England School of Law was, by far, my most rewarding year of the three. In addition to my classed, I participated in the Criminal Procedure II Clinic, which placed me in a Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. This clinic exposed me to not only the prosecutorial work in the District Attorney's Office, but also to the work of the public defenders in representing indigent defendants. Additionally, I witnessed first hand how compassionate and involved the judges could be towards all parties involved, especially the victims and the young defendants. I saw the legal profession working together towards a common goal, bettering the community. This clinic allowed me to experience one of the most rewarding aspects of my law school education and at the same time showed me how one's legal career could be used to serve the public. In addition to the clinic and courses I took during my third year, I held the position of Vice President of the Public Interest Law Association (PILA). As a member of the executive board of PILA, I attempted to inform the NESL's student body of the many different ways in which public interest and the law come together. Being a member and a leader of PILA is a part of my legal career that I am both proud of and will cherish for many years to come.
I have personally found New England School of Law to be a wonderful place to not only learn the law but to grow into the person that I have become. I hope that I can continue looking at the world through eyes that will never give up and always acknowledge that there is more to be done. Finally, I hope to build on my public interest experiences while at NESL, and to continue serving the public in my future.