Prior to this summer I had never been outside of Massachusetts for any substantial period of time. For this reason, one of my goals for this summer was to broaden my horizons and experience some new things outside of my comfort zone. Spending the summer in New York City has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life and it has opened my eyes to whole new world of possibilities. Before this summer I had been quite content to apply exclusively to law schools close to home in Boston but now I am considering New York schools, as well as schools in Chicago, Washington D.C and even Los Angeles.
Another goal that I had for this summer was to gain some firsthand exposure to how family court operates. By regularly attending court proceedings with my supervisor, I was able to observe how things work in an actual court of law and to pick the brains of the attorney’s with whom I interacted. In fact, my inquisitive nature actually made an impression on a few attorneys and a couple of my conversations led to impromptu lunches, which turned out to be great networking opportunities.
I also wanted to apply the academic knowledge that I’ve gained at Brandeis to real-life and this internship granted me the opportunity to do just that. A great deal of sociological scholarship is devoted to how individual agents interact with social infrastructures. By interviewing clients and watching the lawyers advocate their wishes in the courtroom, I was able to witness this phenomenon in action. As a sociologist who subscribes to the tenets of conflict theory, I have always had a somewhat cynical outlook on “the system” but this internship has really altered my perspective. In stark contrast to the adversarial atmosphere that I experienced in criminal court, the collaborative and collegial atmosphere that pervaded family court gave me the distinct impression that everyone was genuinely invested in a common goal and that engendered a very pleasant and productive work environment. Seeing how passionate not only the professionals at LFC but the judges and opposing counsel truly were about helping these disadvantaged children was quite refreshing and has given me a less pessimistic view of “the system”.
I am nearing the end of my undergraduate experience and I have been fortunate to have had some amazing internships in both corporate and criminal law but interning at LFC this summer allowed me to foray into an avenue of the law that is of particular interest to me: family law. And while I still do not have a concrete vision of what type of law I ultimately want to pursue, I am certain that the experience I gained this summer will greatly facilitate my decision making process when the time comes to make what will be perhaps, the most important decision of my career.
The advice that I would give to anyone interested in interning at LFC or in the legal in general is to have an idea of what you want to get out of your internship and be assertive about making sure you get the most out of your experience. With that being said, I also think it’s good to keep an open mind and be willing to learn about things that you might otherwise have not experienced. Other than that, I would just say to cherish the opportunity and show your gratitude to Brandeis by representing them to the best of your ability.
– Aaron Bray ’13