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The Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) provides free legal assistance and representation on civil matters to low-income residents of the city of Boston and surrounding cities and towns. The GBLS serves low-income families & individuals, elders and people with disabilities who seek assistance in a wide variety of civil issues. Some of those issues include cases of domestic violence, access to public transportation for individuals with disabilities, protection for victims of political and gender-based persecution seeking asylum in the U.S., hourly wage increases for low-wage workers, affordable housing cases and improvement of unemployment rights.
Summer Internships are offered in the Welfare Law Unit, Immigration Law Unit, Housing Law Unit, Family Law, Employment Law, Elder, Health and Disability Unit, Consumer Rights, and Asian Outreach Unit. Interns work in both GBLS offices – the main office on Friend Street in Boston and their second location on Gore Street in Cambridge. If you are interested in an internship here, send a resume and cover letter indicating, in order of preference, the units they are interested in and available hours to: Yahaira Ortiz, 2012 Spring and Summer Internship Program, GBLS, 197 Friend Street, Boston, MA 02114 or via email at email@example.com.
To learn more about Greater Boston Legal Services and its good work, please check out its website, here.
Last summer, Gabrielle Agranat-Getz, 2L, worked for The Legal Aid Society of New York. Providing services in civil, criminal and juvenile rights to low-income New Yorkers, Legal Aid Aims to ensure that no New Yorker is denied access to justice because of poverty. Read about Gabrielle’s experience, below.
Within one short summer, I was able to work on many projects involving Disability Law, Education Law and Immigration Law. I gained enormous practical experience through conducting intakes, client interviews and representing clients at hearings. I also submitted advocacy briefs to the judge, conducted research and wrote legal memoranda. Working with indigent clients required being attuned to an individual or family’s entire situation. A client may come in seeking representation for a Supplemental Security Appeals case, but a housing challenge may arise as well. Or a woman would come in because her husband was facing deportation, but I would learn that her children were not receiving the special education services they needed. At Legal Aid, we worked to make sure that all of a client’s legal needs were addressed.
While I came to law school dedicated to pursuing public interest law, I had never actually worked full time in the legal services arena. I could only assume that I wanted to pursue direct legal services. After my summer internship with the New York Legal Aid Society, I am certain that it is the right field for me. Without the help, support and funding from PILF, I, along with many other students, would not have been able to devote a summer to working at a not-for-profit legal organization. I am grateful for this opportunity both because it was an enormous learning experience for me and because I was able to provide essential legal assistance to those in need.
I worked as a legal intern with the Legal Defense Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities (“NEKI”) in Budapest, Hungary. NEKI is a NGO dedicated to protecting the rights of national and ethnic minorities, especially those of the Roma. NEKI’s main objectives are maintaining a free-of-charge legal aid service for disadvantaged Roma and conducting anti-discrimination strategic litigation. Over the course of the summer, I conducted legal research for litigation deliverables in ongoing case law. It was incredibly satisfying to be able to develop such close working relationships with both clients and international human rights advocates in the region. By gaining exposure to the legal development and practical functioning of human rights/civil liberties in a different legal system I was able to learn so much about the cultural nuances that influence client rapport and effective legal advocacy. I’m so grateful for the opportunities which PILF afforded me.
My work was mostly comprised of writing memoranda analyzing the issues of law at play in a given case. Before my internship I didn’t understand the workload in front of judges (at least at the Superior Court level). My research and suggestions allowed my judge to focus more on central legal issues. By doing this, I helped ensure that the law was administered fairly and faithfully to the cases I worked on. An advocate’s clients are better served if that advocate has an intimate knowledge of how a judge – as fact finder or arbiter – rules on issues of a case. My internship provided me with that experience, while I aided in the pursuit of a just application of the law. Not only a privilege, my experience as a judicial clerk is now a tool for the causes for which I work. I could not have worked where I did without a PILF stipend. Simply, PILF enabled me to take advantage of a foundational and important opportunity, and without that support, I, and all of my future pro bono work, would be worse off. Moving forward, whether I am working in a familiar social entrepreneurship capacity, or, more likely, in the context of an advocate, I am deeply grateful to both my Judge and PILF for providing me with the tremendous learning experience that this summer was.
I was a legal intern in the Insurance and Financial Services Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. The mission of our division was to investigate insurance and financial institutions for violations of Massachusetts law, as well as to protect the interests of the Massachusetts consumers against fraud and deceptive practices. As a legal intern, I participated in a number of ongoing investigations, attended depositions and courtroom proceedings. I assisted in the mediation of close to a dozen consumer complaints against insurance and financial institutions. I also had the opportunity to draft a civil investigative demand and compile industry research data pertaining to an ongoing investigation.
I was inspired by the people with whom I was able to work. The Assistant Attorney Generals were passionate and dedicated to the mission of the organization, and yet they made the time to talk to me about the greater issues at play and the projects that they were working on and how that figured into whatever substantive tasks I had on my plate. No matter the project, there was always a human element to it. It was always about how what we were working on, whether it was mediating a consumer complaint or investigating fraudulent practices, would help to benefit the greater good of society. Without my PILF stipend, I would not have been able to participate in this internship and I certainly would not have been able to have the wonderful public interest work experience that I had.