Public Interest Law

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. Nevertheless wit resourcefulness and imagination, I fashioned the legal arguments to state a cause of action based on several Federal discrimination statues. This experience was also different in that, there was an individual attached to the facts of the case. I had listened to her tell her story many times and plead with me for assistance. For the first time, I wrote something not just to perform well or for academics sake, but because of the impact it would have on someone?s life. I am uncertain if the complainant will win her case but nonetheless, the lessons I learned from that experience are invaluable.

My focus on public interest work has led to my desire to concentrate on both the public policy considerations in enacting legislation and the policy implications of judicial decisions. University of Michigan?s curriculum, which combines the study of law and other disciplines, would give me the opportunity to pursue this analytical approach. In addition, I am drawn to University of Michigan because of its outstanding program in international law. With courses in Comparative Law, Immigration, and Refugee law as well as the Asylum and Refugee Law Project, I can obtain the educational experience I seek. Through my work on the Immigration Project and particularly asylum cases, I have examined the political, legal and judicial systems of several Latin American and African countries. In addition, I will be attending an International Protection of Human Rights course centered on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica this summer. These pursuits have laid the foundation for my study of law on an international level.

University of Michigan School of Law is known for its public interest program. It emphasizes the positive benefits of a Juries Doctorate degree and demands that its students recognize this power when choosing the focus of our study and practice. University of Michigan excels in the area that I wish to pursue and I am confident that I will continue to excel in such an atmosphere.

Public Interest Law 8.1 of 10 on the basis of 770 Review.