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Ashley Hill (Class of 2012)

Day Division
I was attracted to becoming a lawyer for only one reason: I wanted to help people. Seeing the disparity between the poor and the wealthy furthered my desire to help the underprivileged. I was interested in discovering all areas of law that public interest encompassed. Before I was eligible to apply for a clinic, I interned at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) in the Health Unit during the summer after my first year of law school. GBLS is the largest public interest law firm in Boston and I was able to gain some experience with Social Security benefits. It was alarming to see how many people were denied benefits despite their truly debilitating illnesses. The internship helped me realize that I didn’t want to practice in this type of field, though it assured me that I was still interested in public interest work.

As soon as I was able to get into a clinical program, I took the opportunity to apply for the Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic, which I was accepted into my 2L year. I interned with New England Law Clinical Law Office and all of my cases were in Family Law, which at the time I was sure I wouldn’t like. I was lucky enough to get the chance to prepare for a trial that included child custody, alimony, child support, and division of marital assets. It was the best experience of my life. I got so much one on one time with our client that it helped me realize just how much is at stake for our clientele. Being able to help victims of domestic violence really confirmed my desire to work in Public Interest law.

My desire to help domestic violence victims increased as I went into my third year of law school. I felt that I hadn’t explored enough different types of public interest law, so I decided to try to get into just one more clinical course. I secured a position in the Criminal Procedure II Clinic after obtaining my internship at Suffolk County DA’s Office in the Major Felony Offenses Unit. This area of the law was completely new to me and is very different from Family Law. I gained valuable experience witnessing murder trials and taking part in a motion to suppress hearing. Though I found it beyond fascinating, I just didn’t have that connection with Criminal Law that I did with Family Law.

My clinical experiences provided me with glimpses into different sectors of Public Interest Law to which I would not normally have had access. It’s just as important to weed out the types of law that you do not want to practice as it is to find the perfect fit for you. Having real life skills in different areas of the law will enable me to become a multifaceted lawyer that will enable me to adapt to different environments and settings. I have the clinical programs at New England Law | Boston to thank for allowing me to explore these options and reaffirm my dedication to public interest work.

(March 2012)