Ana Partida (Class of 2002)
I came to New England School of Law from San Diego, CA. I attended San Diego State University for my undergraduate degree (a BA in Psychology with a Biology minor). Thereafter, I received a Masters in Forensic Science from National University in San Diego. Throughout my undergraduate experience, I spent some time working with illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico, who were trying to become legalized. I participated in this effort through various formats such as work experience (doing immigration physicals/paperwork), through immigrant rights activist groups, and through religious and fraternal organizations.
While at NESL, during my second year, I worked at an immigration clinic (for credit hours), at Centro Presente in Cambridge. This experience was extremely rewarding. The largest portion of their clients are Spanish speaking (from various nationalities), which I am fortunate to be. This ability to communicate with my clients made the experience more personal. I came into the clinic at a time when they became so busy because of the NACARA program (an asylum based immigration program) that the center was handing out deli-type numbers in order to service their clients.
The summer of my second year, I interned with the Public Defender's office in San Diego (South Bay). This was also very rewarding. Particularly because I was 303 Certified, and many of the attorneys went on vacation my first week, I was able to appear before the judge on a daily basis for the entire two and a half months that I was there.
I encourage anyone still in school or anyone now practicing, to pursue public interest work. Although time is a limited resource for most of us, with a little effort, your contribution can move mountains for those who most need our help.