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Louisa Gibbs (Class of 2014)

Day Division
One of the most valuable experiences of law school was taking part in clinics that allowed me to give back to the community. I spent the majority of my undergraduate career involved in various social justice and community service projects and was worried that by going to law school I could not continue pursuing these passions, which couldn't have been further from the truth.

I began my clinical experience with the Lawyering Process Clinic during the second semester of my 2L year. It was in that course where I basically learned how to be a lawyer. My clinic placement was with the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association, which provides free civil legal assistance to low-income residents of the greater Boston area. I went there on my first day thinking that my classes has prepared me to be a lawyer, and while they helped with regard to legal issues and research they did not prepare me for working with clients.

I interned in the Consumer Law Department and met people with debt collection and bankruptcy issues. It was an eye-opening experience, putting the law into practice and helping clients move on with their lives, no longer fearing for debt collection callers or being unable to buy something nice for their grandson's graduation.

I then spent summer after my second year as a student attorney at the New England Law | Boston Clinical Law Office, representing indigent clients in family law and Social Security cases. This included client intake, client counseling, drafting motions, and actually arguing cases in court with my certification under the Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03. This experience taught me the reality of law on a day-to-day basis. My clients would laugh and cry to me on the phone and I often doubted if I could work in public interest. But the trust that my clients and my supervisors placed in me gave me the motivation to represent them to the best of my abilities. I continued to volunteer at this office at the end of the summer and earned my Public Service Transcript Notation.

Entering my 3L year, I wanted to vary my experience and had the opportunity to intern at Suffolk Superior Court through the school’s Honors Judicial Clerkship Program. I heard cases argued before the court in jury and motion sessions and learned more about the judicial process, both logistically and practically, and enhanced my legal research and writing skills.

I spent my last semester of law school interning with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office in the Division of Civil Rights, through the school’s Government Lawyer Clinic. I attended weekly meetings to brainstorm and analyze current civil complaints made by Massachusetts residents, and then researched the legal questions surrounding those issues.

My clinical experience undoubtedly has made me a better attorney and a better person, and I recommend taking advantage of New England Law’s numerous clinical opportunities.

(March 2014)