Lisa Renzi (Class of 2003)
Like many law students starting out, I was unsure of what type of law I wanted to practice. However, I knew that no matter where I eventually ended up, I wanted to build and maintain a connection to legal work that benefits marginalized and disadvantaged communities and individuals. I think that kind of ethical connection to the local community is important for all attorneys to develop, whether they are interested in pursuing a career strictly in the public interest or not. At New England, I am in the process of building that kind of connection.
After my first year, I worked as a summer associate in the Norfolk County District Attorney's office in Canton. Being there was one of the best working experiences I have ever had, not only because the legal work I was doing was fascinating (building criminal cases in sexual abuse and rape cases), but also because the attorneys I worked with were so dedicated to their profession and to helping legal interns become excellent attorneys.
During my second year, I took a bit of a different path, working as an intern investigator at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, which gave me the opportunity to get experience with civil rights issues, as well as with employment law. I'm continuing in that vein this summer, working at the Employment Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services. My work experience there will be funded by a fellowship from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, which supports law students committed to working in the public interest.
Work experience was not the only way I managed to link my experience at New England with public interest law. I recently served as co-chair of the Public Interest Law Association, which raises funds for New England Students taking non-paying summer internships in the public interest. Awarding grant money to deserving students was one of my most satisfying experiences at New England so far.