Matthew Porges (Class of 2004)
When I came to New England School of Law (NESL), I had an interest in public interest law. As an undergraduate at Brandeis University, I did internships at Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) and AIDS Action Committee in Boston. Even before that, growing up in Southeastern Connecticut, I had volunteered for the local AIDS project and at the Special Olympics. As a result, when I came to NESL, I had a background in public interest and an interest in discrimination law.
As a student at NESL, my interest in public interest law has continued and expanded. I was able to do more public interest volunteering by being a member and leader in the Outlaws group and NESL's American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) chapter and by helping out with the Public Interest Law Association (PILA) auction. Career-wise, I attended public interest job fairs at Suffolk University Law School and in Philadelphia. I also greatly enjoyed being part of NESL's first-ever Public Interest Law Clinic & Seminar (the Clinic). That class was taught very well by Professor Russell Engler, who became somewhat of a mentor for me for public interest law.
As part of the Clinic, I was certified for student practice under SJC Rule 3:03 and worked 15 hours per week at the Volunteer Lawyers' Project (VLP), just blocks away from NESL. There I learned about Bankruptcy Law, which I knew nothing about, and Real Estate/Property Law, which I only knew on an abstract level from Property class at NESL. At VLP, I also worked on Social Security cases, using knowledge I acquired while working at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) in the Summer of 2002. There I worked exclusively on Social Security cases in the very student-friendly Disability Unit. GBLS was a great place to work and a very easy place to learn on the spot, and many students, including many New England School of Law students, work there throughout the year. Those jobs led me to my job for the summer of 2003, The Center for Civil Rights in Philadelphia (the Center). There I worked mainly on cases within the Center's Anti-Violence Project.
As I enter my 3rd and final year, I am sure that I want to work as a public interest lawyer, but I am still deciding whether I want to do discrimination and civil rights work or disability work.