I initially did not see the e-mail for the Karnes trip. I will admit there are many e-mails that I delete without reading because I know that most of the opportunities offered do not fit my life. I am part of Seton Hall Law’s first weekend class. I commute from Long Island. I work full-time in a state trial court. I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, and take on many other roles throughout the day. My life is hectic.
Attorneys and law students across the country will be joining the National Pro Bono Celebration from October 23-29, 2016. The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service launched this important initiative because of the increasing need for vital pro bono services to help low-income individuals and non-profit groups.
As a law student, you can be involved in many activities and take a variety of classes. Here’s why volunteer legal work should be part of your law school experience:
When I walked into the Juvenile Justice Clinic at the start of the spring semester, I was excited for a change in my learning experience as a law student. I had grown accustomed to the classroom experience and was anticipating gaining an understanding of the judicial process from a hands-on perspective. To me, participating in the Juvenile Justice Clinic and working with the Public Defender’s Unit was an opportunity to learn the administrative processes of not just the courtroom but how each judge prefers to run their respective courts.
My participation in the Immigrants’ Rights/International Human Rights Clinic was by far my most memorable experience in law school. Professor Farrin Anello assigned my partner and I to a time-sensitive case. The client was a young woman who recently fled Guatemala and had entered the United States without a visa. After being apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, she was sent to Delaney Hall Detention Center right here in Newark, where she was being held when we met her. Her bond hearing was rapidly approaching, and Catholic Charities brought her case to the attention of the Center for Social Justice. After reviewing the documents from our client’s initial interview with an asylum officer, we believed that she had a strong domestic violence-based asylum claim.
In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote a public letter while he was imprisoned in Birmingham jail. In it, he said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Of course I’d heard this quote many times throughout my life, but I suppose in all honesty it affected me in the way most grandiose platitudes did: not much. We all innately feel that injustice cannot be tolerated, however, until injustice finds its way into our day-to-day lives, we are hard-pressed to find the motivation to take action, or the ability to comprehend what it truly means to face injustice.
Law students hoping to practice in the area of Family Law can position themselves to achieve that goal by following this advice. While no one thing will guarantee a successful career in one specific area of the law, a combination of multiple experiences and associations will make the likelihood of employment in that area increase. Here are a few ideas to get you started.