BU Law classes, clinics, and moot court competitions led to federal clerkship
Elizabeth Rossi ('12)
A Public Interest Scholar with a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Rossi ('12) had been crafting a dream for years. Her goal was to launch a career in international human rights with the U.S. State Department on the strength of two graduate degrees—a master's in international relations from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and a J.D. from BU Law. She initially expected to find her primary inspiration through her studies in international relations.In fact, she recalls, I viewed legal study as a complement to my primary career objective of policy work.
As soon as she began classes at BU Law, however, Rossi found the energy and commitment of the community infectious. "It struck me during my first year that I could really learn to love working in the law," she remembers. "The intellectual energy at BU Law was so invigorating." Following her passion for international human rights, Rossi worked with BU Law's Career Development and Public Service Office to land a summer internship with Legal Aid of Cambodia.
In Phnom Penh, she had an epiphany while researching how various child-friendly justice systems could serve as models for Cambodia. "When I discovered articles describing the deplorable juvenile justice facilities in the southern U.S.," she says, "I realized that I was in the wrong place. I had been so focused on international human rights that I was overlooking problems in my own backyard."
On top of her direct advocacy work, Rossi conducted extensive
legal research and wrote academic papers and contributed to amici briefs
on these topics. She also directed the Edward Stone Moot Court
Competition, won Best Oralist for the Stone Moot Court Competition, and
won Best Team Brief and Second Team in the Albers Moot Court
Competition. She also participated in the BU Law Pro Bono Program.
“Being in this community was so motivating,” says Rossi. “I felt
empowered to help meet the legal needs of marginalized populations.”
Today, Rossi is learning the justice system from the other side
of the bench. Her wealth of experience researching, advocating and
writing on issues of national importance has earned her two different
clerkships. Currently, she is a law clerk for Judge Paul Barbadoro in
the U.S. District Court in NH, and in the fall she will begin a
clerkship with Judge Martha Daughtrey on the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Sixth Circuit in Nashville, TN.
Certainly gaining this behind-the-scenes look at how district and
federal courts operate is another step in the right direction for
achieving her dream.