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Student Profiles

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.

Dan Werner (Class of 2012)

I came to law school after working for a couple of years in public health doing direct street outreach. At first, law school was not “real” enough for me, but soon I learned that law students could have a great impact on the world and have fun in the process. I had the opportunity to take criminal law classes with Professor Siegel. They were so exciting and engaging that I became interested in criminal law. In my second year of school I saw a public defender internship with the State of Alaska that was advertised on the school web site, and I applied.

I got in to the program and they decided to fly me up for the summer. I would have had to have paid for my flight if not for the school’s Public Interest Law Association, which arranged a grant for me. I was sent to Nome, a remote community deep in the tundra. Nome is so far away that it is not connected to the road system. Cell phone service is spotty, and the Internet is almost non-functional.

The experience was amazing. I got to learn about Eskimo culture and spend time with Eskimo families, and I learned about nature, survival, and small town life. I spent a lot of time with co-workers, taking long trips deep into the bush, fording rivers, and visiting isolated villages. I also got my own caseload of up to 40 cases at a time, which was an intense learning experience. Being in such an isolated place and small office really helped me to focus on the people around me. Instead of rushing from event to event as I might do in Boston, I got to know a few coworkers, clients, and friends very deeply.

I was engaged in many other public interest positions while at New England Law | Boston, many secured with the help of the Center for Law and Social Responsibility, but this position helped cement my interest in working as a criminal defense attorney. Building on this experience, I enrolled in the Criminal Procedure II Clinic in the spring semester of my senior year and obtained a placement at the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), the public defender in Massachusetts. The staff at CPCS was very generous with responsibility, even letting me write a major motion in a murder case. I hope to pursue a career in criminal defense and would love to work at CPCS when I graduate.

(April 2012)