Public Interesting

This month has been a bit of a rushed stress-fest, so in lieu of a story about law prom (which you should definitely go to, by the way!), I thought I’d offer an excerpt of an essay I recently wrote to explain my interest in public interest and pro bono work. Writing it reminded me why I’m at BU. Here you go:

As a first-year law student, I jumped into public interest work as quickly as possible. As a representative for the Law Students for Reproductive Justice, I helped organize educational events for fellow future lawyers. My most exciting work with the organization, however, is an ongoing research project. We are talking to lawyers and other advocates to gather comprehensive information on prisoners’ parental rights for the Prison Birth Project, a reproductive and criminal justice organization that recognizes the issues faced by the 85 percent of incarcerated women who also mothers. The end product, most likely an easy-to-understand set of flash cards, will be distributed to female prisoners in Massachusetts, up to 7 percent of whom are incarcerated while pregnant. Over the summer, I plan to attend the national LSRJ conference, and next year, I will serve the BU chapter as vice president.

Last semester, I volunteered to research Swedish asylum practices with a focus on the ongoing issues faced by Syrian refugees. My research assisted the Human Rights Law Society’s refugee rights project, in conjunction with the BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, which focuses on international human rights law from a Palestinian perspective. It was such a privilege to be a small part of a public interest project with the potential to reach millions of desperate refugees worldwide, easing their transition to new, safe homelands.

This semester, thanks to the BU Pro Bono Program, I was selected to attend the Spring Break Service Trip to Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Portland, Maine. More than anything else in the past year, this solidified my commitment to public service and family law. Our research over one short week has amazing implications for the resolution of everyday legal challenges faced by people in Maine and nationwide. The work was invigorating, but the people of Pine Tree were an even bigger inspiration. Everyone I met cared deeply about their work, their clients, and their colleagues. Each was eager to impart as much advice and encouragement as possible. I also took the time to meet one-on-one with the family law attorneys, recent graduates whose passion for their work and wisdom beyond their years were infectious.

Law Prom (masquerade theme) counts as professional networking, right?

Law Prom (masquerade theme) counts as professional networking, right?

To bolster my future career, I have joined the ABA, Boston Bar Association (free to all BU Law students!), and National Lawyers Guild. Activities with these organizations have included workshops at the BBA, where I got a primer on the fundamentals of domestic violence law, and the NLG, where I learned how to teach communities about “street law.” What a great start to my law career, thanks in large part to the opportunities provided by BU Law and the great city of Boston!

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