New England Law | Boston students perform public service work through clinical courses, student groups, and employment, both paid and volunteer.
Students may obtain transcript recognition for approved public service legal work through the Public Service Transcript Notation Program.
Margaret Frye (Class of 2010)
I came to law school two years after graduating from Brandeis University with a degree in Political Science and Women's Studies. When I graduated from college, I initially had no interest in going to law school. The two jobs I held after college were what inspired me to become an attorney and helped me realize what my true interest was – public interest law.
I worked for one year as a paralegal at the Volunteer Lawyer's Project in Boston, assisting low-income tenants of public housing complexes to obtain emergency transfers and participating in the Attorney for the Day program at Boston Housing Court. The number of unrepresented (pro se) litigants absolutely astounded me, and I knew that my future career would be helping people navigate the legal process when they had no other help and could not afford an attorney. I also worked for one year at Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership as an administrator for housing subsidy programs, and my interest in housing law grew. When I came to New England Law | Boston, I eagerly sought out opportunities to continue public interest work and was thrilled to find there were opportunities to get involved as a first year student. I participated in the Judicial Language Project, during which I read cases and helped to identify judicial language in opinions from sexual assault cases that was insensitive or victim-blaming. It was truly an eye-opening experience and showed me the matter of language is critical not only in judicial opinions but also in working with clients who are also encountering a great deal of legal language that is unfamiliar to them.
Also during my first year, I volunteered with the Domestic Violence Institute at Boston Medical Center (DVI/BMC), advertised through the Women's Law Caucus, and conducted interviews of women in the Emergency Department of the hospital, assisting in providing domestic violence advocacy where it was requested. The DVI/BMC program also included training sessions on areas of law affecting victims of domestic violence as part of each bi-weekly shift. I often compared it to taking an additional class with an advocacy component, which was something I truly missed during my first year. I returned to the DVI/BMC program as a team leader during my 3L year and now supervise a group of students in their interviews, lead the trainings, and provide hands-on advocacy on behalf of hospital patients in need. My volunteer work during my first year of law school earned me the Public Service Transcript Notation, New England Law’s program for acknowledging eligible volunteer work.
During the summer after my 1L year, I interned in the Family Law Unit at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau and participated in restraining order hearings, motions, and contempt proceedings. I enrolled in the Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic in the fall of my 2L year and performed my clinical work at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights doing research on various legal issues and writing memoranda.
I enjoyed my clinical work so much that I took two more clinical courses at New England Law. I also took part in the Family Law Clinic and the Administrative Law Clinic, both of which involved different types of work at Greater Boston Legal Services. The clinic program has been a defining part of my law school career – it allowed me to work in various organizations and areas of law, obtain a strong level of experience, and develop a specialty in public interest law. I typically proposed my own clinic placements and the school was consistently eager to make my clinic ideas a reality. I always felt that the New England Law faculty made possible my desire to pursue public interest law and was very supportive in that endeavor.