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Alyssa Kilmurray (Class of 2011)

Day Division
I entered law school convinced that I did not want to do trial work; I had my sights set on becoming a wills and estates attorney. Prior to entering New England Law I had no experience with any type of public interest work and I had not considered it much in my decision to attend.

After the required courses of my first year I decided to sign up for a clinic. I wanted to get out in the real world and experience law that was actually happening, instead of just reading about it. I signed up for the Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic and with the help of the clinic director, secured a placement at the Legal Aid Corporation of Central Massachusetts (LACCM). I began working in the family law division of LACCM and before I knew it I was in front of a judge arguing for restraining orders. Much to my surprise, I absolutely loved being up in the courtroom. I soon was taking any opportunity I could get to be in front of a judge. I was lucky enough to have excellent supervisors and co-workers and with their help I worked on just about every aspect of the divorce process and a few child custody issues as well.

In the meantime, I took Wills, Estates and Trusts expecting that I would love the subject. But, as it turns out, I did not. I found it was dreadfully boring to me and I knew that there was no way that I could make this my career path.

As the fall semester wrapped up I was reluctant to leave my position at LACCM, but I was grateful for all the experience I had gained helping victims of domestic violence and others who could not afford legal representation.

During the summer after my second year, I returned to LACCM after being awarded the Mary Jo Frug grant to continue the work that I had enjoyed so much. Since I was working full time, I was able to take on cases of my own. Again, I was lucky enough to be in court on a regular basis to argue on my clients’ behalf. LACCM’s work is never short of passion when it comes to helping people who need the help and I found that working around these attorneys made me passionate about the cause too.

When the summer wrapped up and I was heading back to school, I was upset over the idea that I would not be in a courtroom during the upcoming semester. Right around that time, an alum of New England got in touch with a professor and said that the Worcester County District Attorney’s office might be looking for some volunteers. I got in touch with the office and volunteered to work for them for the fall semester. I enrolled in the Criminal Procedure II clinic and was able to get credit for the work through the clinic.

My position began in the sexual assault unit of the DA and later I moved into District Court. Through the internship I got a full view of the entire procedure of the criminal side of the law. I had a lot of contact with victims of crimes and, through those experiences, I learned how valuable the work is that the DA performs. Fighting for justice for a victim is some of the most satisfying work that a person can perform, in my opinion. This position also allowed me to be back in the courtroom nearly every day I was there. And again, I loved every minute of it.

After the semester ended, I stayed on in a volunteer capacity at the DA’s office for the spring semester because I enjoyed it so much.

As I prepare to graduate law school, I am hoping to consider down the road the public interest path. The enthusiasm that public interest attorneys possess is truly inspiring and it has inspired me to choose this as the work I hope to continue in the future. I would advise any law student to take a clinic at least once in his or her law school years. The hands-on experience is amazing, something you will never get from a book or a lecture. The clinics I took really reinforced my decision to attend law school because through them I found something I loved. (March 2011)