I’m spending my spring break this year volunteering at Pine Tree Legal Services in Portland, Maine. I was hoping to look for summer housing, learn about the legal needs and concerns of the community I’ll be entering as I spend next summer here, and working towards fulfilling my pro bono hours pledge. My hopes have been fulfilled – I’ve been able to look at some apartments in the evening and get a much better feel of Portland.
I have really enjoyed working on real (e.g. not hypothetical) problems as a change of pace. We’ve been researching real estate records, taxation of real estate professionals, and financing conditions in Lewiston, Maine, where affordable housing in high demand, but many affordable apartments are in poor condition. Working on real project – with all its messiness – and turning research into memos and databases that might actually be used someday is a welcome reminder that all this work in law school is helping me gain skills that I can actually use.
I’ve also had the opportunity to meet some BUSL students from the 1L and 3L classes that I had never met before. We’ve been enjoying Portland’s famous ‘foodie’ culture with lobster, specialty pizzas and sandwiches, New York Times endorsed Mexican food and more. I’ve especially enjoyed the city’s incredible array of gluten free options – I’ve eaten pizza, sandwiches, muffins, cupcakes, and soup this week, in addition to always-gluten free delicious foods like lobster and tacos. Despite the wet weather this week, I’m really looking forward to coming back this summer.
Although I’m not getting a bit of my own work done (erg), I think the pro bono spring break service trip was a good decision!