Marcia DeGeer (Class of 2003)
Since I have been at New England, I have had the opportunity to work in various aspects of public interest law both through the students organizations, journals, clinical courses and summer jobs. My activities have included the Charles Hamilton Houston Enrichment Program (CHHEP), the Environmental Law Society, the Women's Law Caucus and the New England Journal on Civil and Criminal Confinement (NEJCCC). I co-coordinated the Prison Outreach Program where journal members present legal topics on a bi-weekly basis to the detainees at Middlesex County jail. Two articles I wrote during law school will be published. One, published by the New England Journal on International and Comparative Law, addresses the appropriation of Indigenous Peoples' plants and cultural knowledge. The other article, published in the NEJCC, outlines the regulatory inadequacies pertaining to genetically engineered food and proposes a statute to protect organic farmers and consumers from its spread.
Through the clinical courses, I first pursued my interest in Environmental Law by taking the Environmental Law Clinic. Although I enjoyed that experience, I wanted more of the practical experience that I would need to learn the craft of lawyering. I obtained invaluable training, and performed full-time work in a public interest law office, when I obtained a work-study position over the summer of 2002 working in the school's in-house clinic, the Clinical Law Office. I was certified under the school's student practice rule (SJC Rule 3:03) and helped handle the clinic's caseload, which involved primarily family law and benefits cases. In my last year, I broadened my experience further by enrolling in the Mediation clinic as a contrast to the litigation experience I had obtained through my summer jobs and clinics. I was able to work closely with a mediator, both observing and conducting mediations. In my last semester, as part of the Environmental Advocacy course, I wrote a question and answer practicum for the Council for Responsible Genetics' webpage to educate the public on the regulations for genetically engineered foods in the US and the EU.