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Diane Pires (Class of 2011)

Evening Division
I came to New England Law | Boston as an evening student after graduating from Suffolk University in the fall of 2006. The spring and summer prior to starting at New England Law, I worked full-time at a personal injury law firm in Boston and volunteered as a club soccer coach. When school started in August, I decided to take some time off from work and focus on my classes. The opportunity to focus solely on academics was initially enjoyable, but I decided to return to work as a law clerk. As I gained confidence in the law, both substantively and procedurally, I decided I wanted to explore different areas of law while also assisting individuals who otherwise would be unable to afford counsel.

The summer following my second year, I began volunteering with Shelter Legal Services (SLS) at its Rosie’s Place and Cambridge Multi-Service Center clinics. Through participation at these clinics, I gained invaluable experience in communicating with clients and researching legal issues, as well as drafting correspondence to clients and opposing counsel. My work with SLS has confirmed my awareness of the necessity to provide representation to the poor and underrepresented in our society. As a volunteer with SLS, I have gained invaluable legal experience while being able to contribute to the representation of indigent individuals in Massachusetts.

In the spring of 2010 I was able to participate in the Lawyering Process Clinic. This clinic was comprised of two components: classroom and fieldwork. During the classroom seminars I was able to develop skills in taking depositions, client counseling, and negotiating. For the field component, I was fortunate to continue working with SLS under the supervision of Attorney Sarah Roxburgh, an alumna of New England Law. Because I was enrolled in a clinic, I was able to become 3:03 certified, which afforded me the opportunity to represent clients at court hearings and participate in mediation/negotiations of disputes. As a result, I was able to gain personal experience in appearing before judges, as well as gain experience while observing court proceedings. In addition, I have been able to gain experience in areas of law (e.g. family and landlord-tenant law) that I otherwise would not learn at the personal injury firm.

In addition, while at New England Law I have been a member of the New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement, as the managing editor (fourth year) and an associate (third year). My public interest experience was augmented by participating in the journal’s Confinement Outreach Program (COP). COP provides legal education services to local inmates, which gives them a better general understanding of the legal system and legal topics relating to evidence and criminal procedure.

I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to New England Law | Boston and its faculty for its continued support and dedication to providing its students with both substantive and practical legal education. In particular, I would like to thank Professor Russell Engler for his encouragement and for his efforts in accommodating my schedule, as well as those of other evening students, and allowing us to participate in New England Law’s clinical program. I look forward to continuing my legal career and hope that I am able to continue to contribute to public interest causes.