The New England Law | Boston clinical programs gave me an outlet for both my frustrations and interests in legal justice. Through the clinical programs I have gained practical legal experience while helping people with real world legal problems. The clinics have helped me build a strong résumé and network with legal professionals while earning law school course credit. The clinics are by far the most important and satisfying experiences that I have had in law school.
In the fall of my second year of law school I enrolled in the Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic. I was placed at the school’s New England Law Clinical Law Office at 46 Church Street. Through the clinic I became certified under Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03, the student practice rule. The 3:03 certification allows law school students the ability to represent clients in a court of law under the supervision of a practicing attorney. And I did just that. As a student attorney I engaged in all of the responsibilities of an actual practicing attorney. I interviewed first time clients, analyzed my clients’ legal issues, researched the law that pertained to my clients’ issues, wrote and filed pretrial motions, negotiated and corresponded with opposing counsel, and represented my clients in divorce and child custody proceedings in front of a judge.
Because of my hard work and dedication at the New England Law Clinical Law Office I was chosen out of a group of applicants to work at the clinic over the summer. During the summer I took on a heavier case load that challenged me to improve the skills that I had acquired in the fall. Because of the heavier case load I was able to research more law, write more motions, and appear in court more often, including arguing in front of judges of the Probate and Family Court.
My positive experience with the Public Interest Law Clinic encouraged me to continue my practical legal education through other clinics. In the fall of my third year of law school I enrolled in the Government Lawyer Clinic. I was placed in the Trial Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office as a legal intern. I gained a new perspective on trial strategy as I represented the commonwealth and its agencies instead of the individual. I also significantly increased my legal writing skills as I wrote many pre-trial motions and prepared discovery for high profile cases.
I concluded my clinical experience with the Family Law Clinic in my last semester of law school. I was placed at both the Suffolk Probate and Family Court and the Supreme Judicial Court as a law clerk to the judges. I had the pleasure of researching case-specific issues for the judges at the Probate and Family Court. I had the responsibility of researching general and sometimes abstract questions of law for the chief justice of the Probate and Family Court. It is surreal to think that the research I prepared for the judges may end up in one of their written opinions in the near future and may even help people obtain the justice that they deserve.
Being able to experience the ins and outs of public interest law through the clinical programs was an invaluable insight that could not have been learned in the classroom. Being able to actually practice public interest law has given me the confidence to believe that I can be an attorney, stand up for someone who needs a voice that will call for justice, and make a difference in that person’s life.