Via the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau
Student Attorney, Vice President of Membership
Class of 2016
“I want to do what I can to encourage people in society to realize that marginalized people are people first.”
What were you doing before law school?
I worked at the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, helping families apply for public benefits, especially focused on children getting on Medicaid. I also volunteered at at a local food pantry in my hometown of Covington, Kentucky.
What has surprised you most as membership director?
I’ve had to be very reflective in talking with 1Ls about how my law school experience has changed, and how much the work we do means to me. I didn’t think about how much HLAB had changed me until started talking with the 1Ls.
What has surprised you about the Bureau?
How accepting the Bureau is. It’s true that Bureau members are always there for each other, no matter how big or small. I knew I would be working with people who are very passionate about the work we do. But I didn’t realize I would be working with people who are very accepting, non-judgmental, open and willing to help you. Bureau members are the type of people that—if you open to them—know exactly how to respond in the way you need them to.
What do you think you’ll do after the Bureau?
I’m torn between public defense (what I came into law school wanting to do) and legal aid work. Working within the Bureau showed me a different side of poverty lawyering where you’re still rooting for the individual, but on a more personal level than the criminal justice system allows. As a public defender, I’m looking for legal loopholes. In family practice, trying to make the judge see the humanity in my client. Either way, I want to do what I can to encourage people in society to realize that marginalized people are people first.
What was your childhood dream job?
Teaching. I had a lot of teachers who set high expectations. My teachers were the first non-family members who took an interest in me, and that meant a lot. Now I still go back to my high school to talk with students about college.
What’s your favorite memory at the Bureau?
At retreat, we did a fishbowl activity in which one group sat in the middle of another and openly answered questions about their professional and personal experiences and failures. Everyone responded with such respect, and there was no judgment.
Any tips on work-life balance?
Know what you enjoy and don’t feel ashamed for doing those things. When you feel like you need to take a step away, take a step away. Instead of trying to plan breaks for yourself, take them when you need them. Don’t worry that you won’t get the work done.
Favorite book as a child?
I loved The Magic Treehouse series. Siblings went on time travel adventures between dinner and bedtime. I was really into knights, kings, and queens at that time.
What’s something we don’t know about you?
I can’t swim at all. I can swim from side to side but I can’t float or wade water.
Filed in: Clinical Spotlight
Tags: Harvard Legal Aid Bureau
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