Q & A with Celeste
Why did you choose the Legislative Internship Program?
Clinics give students great hands-on experience to supplement classroom learning. Getting hands-on work experience early in law school boosts confidence, improves resume and skill set, and helps students further identify areas of practice they are interested in. I chose the legislative internship because of my previous academic background in public health policy and professional interests in policy advocacy work. I wanted to work in a state legislative office to understand law- making from that point of view. I also wanted the opportunity to work on real and significant legislation for Massachusetts.
What was your placement, and what was your role there?
I was in the Joint Committee on Public Health chaired by Rep. Jeff Sanchez. In the clinic, we are given numerous projects. The main project is to draft a piece of legislation for our clients. I helped draft legislation to address medical debt caused by medical care and associated out-of-pocket costs.
What was your most memorable experience in your placement, and why?
My most memorable experience is the friendships I made while working in the Committee. The staff was great and very supportive and we've kept in touch even now that the clinic is over.
What was one of the biggest challenges you faced in the program, and how did you overcome this?
For me, one of the biggest challenges was integrating real client-based work into an academic schedule. I enjoyed the work so much that I wanted to spend more time with the Committee and do additional tasks. However, at the end of the day, I was still a student with academic and class commitments as well.
What did you gain from participating in the program?
I gained a great skill set in drafting legislation, speaking in public, and legislative advocacy. Additionally, the contacts I made while working on Beacon Hill increased my professional network and resources.
How did your expectations of the program differ from the actual experience?
I did not know the details of what our assignments were going to be, so I went in with an open mind. Overall, the clinic's objectives for students are very practical and useful.
What advice would you give to incoming students curious about the clinical programs?
I would tell incoming students to ask other students about their experiences and to talk to the clinic professors about the work the clinic entails. Also, students should be mindful of their class schedules and organize their semesters to balance clinic work. Above all, I would tell students that no clinic is a waste of time and to apply!