Q & A with Franco
Why did you choose the Criminal Law Clinic?
I chose to work with one of the clinics because I wanted to learn through practice. My extensive experience in public interest advocacy made the criminal clinic the most appealing choice. Also, the criminal clinic has a far-reaching reputation for excellence, and I was excited to learn from some of the best instructors. I was especially drawn to the wonderful opportunities that I would have in learning how to litigate cases before the court.
What was the first time you had to speak in front of court like, and how did you build confidence over time?
The first time I spoke in front of the court was when I successfully argued at arraignment in favor of releasing my client into his own custody. I was initially nervous. I remember doing everything I could in the time before I had to speak to get as much information about my client and his case. When his case was finally called and it was my turn to speak, my nervousness melted away and I spoke clearly, plainly and confidently, which is what a good lawyer does. I learned over the course of the semester that I was able to speak this way in front of the court, because of the investigation I did to learn as much as possible. The lesson I took away was that the more familiar one is with a given subject, the more confidently and authoritatively you can speak about it.
Did you work as a defender or prosecutor? Why did you choose this role?
I worked with the Adult Defender Program. I came to BU Law dedicated to public interest work, especially indigent criminal defense. Representing people who were unable to afford a lawyer was both an honor and a privilege. It was also an opportunity for me to work as an advocate and resource to help clients improve the quality of their life or circumstances.
Why is it important to represent cases pro bono?
Justice is supposed to be for all. Indigent defendants are amongst the most vulnerable members of society, and they’re in desperate need of quality legal representation.
What did you gain from participating in the program?
I gained very useful and valuable lawyering skills: how to conduct investigations, experience interviewing clients and witnesses, drafting and arguing motions before the court, as well as how to negotiate with the Commonwealth to reach the best resolution for my client.
What advice would you give to incoming students curious about the clinical programs?
Definitely take advantage of one of the clinical opportunities at BU Law. They’re great practical experiences and imbue students with the valuable skills the employers are looking for.