Public Interest Law
I was told that my desire to enter the field of public interest would wane after my first year of community service. On the contrary, the realization of the power which a lawyer possesses has reinforced my desire to enter this arena. An advocate's work can have far reaching consequences. This is clearly true in public interest law, where the purpose is not simply to correct a wrong done in the past between two parties, but to alter the disparate treatment of an often under-represented class.
Community service is something that I have always engaged. In college, I worked with chemically dependent children as both a caretaker and a mentor. After I graduated, I taught at-risk children in a community youth outreach program. To remain involved and aware of the focus of my studies during my first year of law school, I volunteered at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center teaching youth their basic legal rights. Essentially, we strove to empower kids by providing practical information about the legal system and to help them develop more favorable attitudes about themselves, law enforcement, and the attorneys that represent them.
During my first year I also began working for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago in the Legal Services Center for Immigrants. Extra assistance is a scarce resource in legal services and I was given challenging projects and a great deal of responsibility. It was there I began interviewing the clients I would one day represent, to see first hand the problems they face and the solutions the law offers. I have worked on several projects at Legal Assistance. I have prepared defenses to deportation based on criminal convictions and petitions for asylum based on fear of persecution because of one's gender or political opinion.
This summer I put all of the skills I learned during my first year of law school to work and drafted a complaint for a case of first impression. Unlike my previous writing experiences, there was no canned answer....