November 21, 2013
Alison Tong, now a 2L, spent last summer at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). She worked in Malden, MA at the Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
Alison was drawn to this internship largely because she wanted to learn more about public interest law. She had also developed a specific interest in education after tutoring and teaching in community education settings. After spending time on OPIA’s internship databases and reading previous interns’ glowing reviews, Alison decided to apply to DESE.
Alison reports that she had a phenomenal experience at DESE. The Office of Legal Counsel is a small team, and she was one of only three interns. This afforded her many opportunities to get to know the staff members and to learn from their work. She speaks particularly highly of her supervisor, who made it a point to ensure that Alison was getting to work on projects that interested her and was being exposed to a variety of tasks.
The Office of Legal Counsel has a wide scope of responsibilities as the department’s in-house counsel, but Alison focused on a few projects this summer. She most enjoyed writing a procedural manual on how to conduct investigations on teachers’ licensure revocations because it allowed her to learn about the entire investigative process, from start to finish, and because she knows it will be useful to future staff members and interns. Alison also reviewed collaborative agreements between school districts and put her LRW skills to work in a variety of legal research projects.
Alison will work at a law firm in New York City next summer, but she plans to keep the door open to working in the education field again. She highly recommends an internship at DESE to students looking for substantive work and caring mentors.
– Written by OPIA 1L Section Representative Isabel Broer