I was a very timid law student. Despite the good grades I earned during my first two years at NESL, I still dreaded being randomly called on in class, and I felt insecure about my future work with real clients. As a self-help measure, I made a commitment at the end of my second year to take advantage of NESL’s clinical program. During the fall semester of my final year, I registered for the Administrative Law Clinic. I was able to choose my placement at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs. I worked directly with the General Counsel and completed several research and writing projects concerning long-term care regulation, which helped me gain confidence in my analytical and memo-drafting skills.
However, I still had not dealt with my anxiety about representing real clients with real problems. So, for my final semester, I registered for the Lawyering Process Clinic. I, again, chose my placement in the area of Elder Law, this time with the Elder Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services. I helped indigent elders appeal the denial or termination of their MassHealth and Social Security benefits. Daily, I was on the phone with clients, writing letters to clients, or meeting them in-person. My fears about client contact soon subsided. I even got the opportunity to argue a case before an Administrative Law Judge.
I am very happy that I chose to do clinical work during my time at NESL. Not only have I put those experiences on my resume, but I gained the confidence that I will need for my future career. My only regret is not taking advantage of NESL’s clinical program sooner.