Cliché though it may sound, I came to law school because I believed a law degree would afford me the opportunity to help people and to speak on behalf of those who might be particularly vulnerable. I completed an undergraduate anthropology thesis focused on the barriers to justice and legal assistance faced by domestic violence survivors in Philadelphia. In writing my thesis, I volunteered with a nonprofit legal service organization in Philadelphia which opened my eyes to all the ways in which low-income communities can be better served by legal assistance and public service work.
I came into law school with a public interest focus, and was eager to find ways to complete public service related work during law school. I am also someone that learns far better by doing than by reading or sitting in class, and so I excited to engage in as many experiential learning opportunities as possible. Fortunately for me, many experiential opportunities were focused on public service. My existing interest in public service work combined well with my hope to 'learn by doing.' I am grateful to have been able to participate in externships, a year-long clinic, courtroom observation courses, and volunteer opportunities with CU clubs.
I was fortunate to be a student attorney as part of the Juvenile Law Clinic during my second year at CU. Being involved with the juvenile clinic was absolutely the highlight of law school for me; I could not recommend it more highly. There is a clinic for just about every type of law you might be interested in, and even if you determine you do not want to go into that area of law, the clinic provides unparalleled experience in client services, case management, as well as courtroom and transactional experience. I joined the juvenile law clinic unsure of whether or not juvenile law would interest me. My participation in the clinic confirmed entirely that I would like to pursue a career in public interest juvenile law.
There are so many ways to go into public interest law! You do not have to work for a legal nonprofit or in the clinic; local government provides a wide variety of criminal and civil legal experiences which provide those in need with public service. Additionally, there are always short term opportunities if you are unable to commit to a full semester or yearlong course. Volunteer with a student group or for one-time opportunities with professors. Don't be shy about seeking out these opportunities; professors, administrators and fellow students will support you and help you find the right public service path for you. CU has a vibrant public service community and it has been a pleasure to be a part of it.