Boston University School of Law

July 11, 2008

Wanting Zhang (LL.M. American Law, ’08) has inspiring internship with Senate Ways and Means Committee

Wanting Zhang (LL.M.) and Senator Steven C. Panagiotakos

Wanting Zhang (LL.M.’08) has a personal motto: “Follow your heart, try your best and ignore the result.” When applying this special maxim to her studies, the results have been nothing to ignore. Most recently, Zhang earned a legislative internship at the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Having experienced American law in action, Zhang says she is now inspired by the ways the American government serves its people under law.

Professor Sean Kealy placed Zhang at her internship through BU Law’s Legislative Internship Program. Every semester, Kealy seeks out offices in need of student interns; in the Spring 2008 semester, he was fortunate to work with Senator Steven C. Panagiotakos, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. In light of Zhang’s dual degrees in economics and law, Kealy paired Zhang with the senator, whose Committee is responsible for making the Senate’s budget recommendations.

As a legal intern working under the Committee’s Associate Counsel, Courtney Feely Karp, Esq., Zhang performed legal research, wrote bill summaries and memorandums and attended meetings and events. Beyond Zhang’s daily duties, she had the chance to observe floor debates and meetings with advocacy groups or constituents, broadening her understanding of state legislature and granting her insight to the larger framework of American law. Zhang says that one of her most touching memories as an intern was simply, “chatting with [her] mentor and colleagues about the idea behind a policy, and understanding that no matter how different in race, background or time, we, as human beings, share the same pain and confusion, desires and values.”

When Chief Justice Marshall came to the State House to discuss the SJC budget, Zhang’s mentor gave her the opportunity to sit in on the meeting. Zhang and her

Addie Stumolo ('10), Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, Wanting Zhang ('08) and Daniel McMurtry ('10)

classmates were invited to the John Adams Courthouse for a special tour with Chief Justice Marshall. “The tour was amazing. Our tour guide was an appellant judge, and Chief Justice Marshall met with us in person for 20 minutes—a huge surprise! She encouraged me to go into a legal profession or the political world to achieve my dream and do the right thing for people—I think this is exactly what she is doing now,” says Zhang.

Zhang completed her internship with the Senate Ways and Means Committee and graduated from BU Law in 2008 with an LL.M. degree in American Law. Zhang was the first LL.M. student to complete a BU Law clinical program and was awarded the LL.M. in American Law Program’s Outstanding Achievement Award. Zhang’s academic achievements and legislative internship helped her secure her current internship at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. In the future, Zhang plans to apply for an S.J.D. degree for further research in legislative theory and public policy.

One day, Zhang hopes to return to China to serve her country. “[My legislative internship] gave me a much deeper and thorough understanding of the American legislative system; it inspired me to think about how to use law to achieve good governance and social development. The experience was more than valuable for my future research and work back in China,” says Zhang.

Reported by Lauren Shiraka