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Mark Riordan (Class of 2014)

Day Division
In the summer of 2012, after my first year of law school, I worked at the Harvard Prisoner Legal Assistance Project as the designated Spanish-speaking student attorney. This position allowed me to represent prisoners in their disciplinary hearings in several prisons throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We conducted interviews and client intakes, submitted discovery requests, drafted memoranda and appeals, and helped in other ways. The experience was an incredible learning opportunity and gave me practical legal skills in representing individuals who do not have any recourse to obtain representation.

In the fall of 2012, during my second year of law school, I worked at Action for Boston Community Development, interviewing and assisting low-income Spanish speakers in filling out their citizenship forms. I earned the school’s Public Service Transcript Notation for this volunteer work.

In the spring of 2013, I enrolled in the school’s Family Law Clinic and I was given an incredibly rewarding and valuable placement in the Probate and Family Court of Suffolk County. This experience enhanced my knowledge of family law in an unparalleled way.

I was required to interact with a clientele that was composed of more than 90 percent self-represented litigants. I answered questions from these individuals and counsel daily concerning jurisdictional and procedural issues dealing with domestic relations and probate pleadings. I also was called upon several times to explain to Spanish-speaking litigants the proper submission of legal pleadings and forms before the court. It was a rewarding experience and I have the most respect for the employees and judges of the Probate and Family Court and the work that they do.

In the spring of my third year, I took the Mediation and Dispute Resolution Clinic and I was placed at Metropolitan Mediation Services (MMS) as an intern; I received training and a placement to mediate disputes in Dorchester Municipal Court. I primarily co-mediated with another MMS mediator and handled small claims cases. The Dorchester small claims court was literally a “cafeteria of conflict.” I believe that the conflict resolution field has the ability to expand even more in coming years and I definitely gained a lot from this clinic.

(April 2014)