I was drawn to New England because of the variety of clinical programs offered and the fact that New England students could begin participating in them at a comparatively early stage of the curriculum. After taking a few years between college and law school, re-entering the classroom on a full time basis was daunting task for me. However, knowing that I could supplement my classroom academics with practical legal experience as soon as my second year began was an appealing option.
Although, I had already envisioned myself attending law school at some point, my experiences during my post-grad volunteer year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps shaped my desire to pursue a public service legal career. During my time at New England, I have had the opportunity to take four clinics, three of which have strong ties to public interest.
As part of the Public Interest Law Clinic, I was placed at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) in their Elder Division. At GBLS, I gained valuable work experience doing extensive legal research and writing and improving my client interaction skills.
The following semester I took the Government Lawyer Clinic and was placed in the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division. At the AG's Office, one of my projects was collecting and recording data and researching the unfair and deceptive advertising practices of local car dealers. (This work eventually led to a settlement in January 2008 where eight local dealerships agreed to pay civil penalties totaling $290,000 and the agreement to refrain from advertising practices that mislead consumers about the actual price of vehicles.)
Most recently, I worked at Committee for Public Counsel Services – Roxbury/Dorchester Division as part of the Criminal Procedure II Clinic. This was my first experience in the criminal sector and I believe the practical skills I learned will be invaluable throughout my legal career. At CPCS, I was certified as a student attorney under SJC Rule 3:03 and was therefore able to be involved in the criminal defense process from start to finish. I spent many hours reading police reports, interviewing clients, researching relevant legal issues, drafting motions and representing clients in court during bail hearings and other pre-trial motions.
Through the clinical programs offered at New England, I have gained valuable legal knowledge and practical skills in the area of public service. I have enjoyed the opportunity to apply my in-class academics to real life situations and know that these experiences have laid the professional groundwork for all my future endeavors as an attorney.