Leigh Ann Pond (Class of 2008)
My experience with the New England School of Law clinics was extremely gratifying. My first clinic was at the New England School of Law Clinical Law Office, the school’s in-house clinic, where I represented indigent clients in family law matters. I became certified under Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03, the student practice rule, and did everything from conducting client intake interviews to arguing motions in court. I was assigned my own cases and was in charge of every detail of how those cases went forward. It was intimidating how much independence I had, but the experience was incomparable.
The supervisors at the in-house clinic were great mentors. Even though they had their own caseload, they always managed to make my education their first priority. I was pushed to do things I didn’t think I was capable of doing as a second year law student, including arguing and winning my first motion before a judge.
Since my first clinic experience was so positive, I made sure to sign up for another one before I graduated. In my last semester of NESL, I worked as a student attorney at the Roxbury District Attorney’s Office, through the school’s Criminal Procedure II Clinic. I was in court every day applying the concepts I learned in the classroom to real-life. Finally, some of the obscure first year concepts were coming together!
The clinics are also great because they give students a chance to get out of the classroom and into the community. People need to see us out in the community so they know that there are lawyers out there who really are dedicated to providing a public service. Working in the public sector is a great way to rebuild people’s faith in the judicial process, and to ensure that everyone has equal access to legal services, no matter what their financial status is. The New England School of Law clinical program is an awesome opportunity for students to serve their community while gaining invaluable legal experience.