Student Post: Co-op: A Chance to Escape the Snow

by Brooke, Class of 2016

Lots of people think that they need to go to law school in the geographic area in which they plan to practice. But while I know that I want to practice immigration law in the Southwest, I did not want to go to school there. After going to undergrad in Arizona, I was ready for a change of pace, and I was committed to going to a law school with a social justice mission. Everyone chooses Northeastern for a slightly different reasons, but some of the most common reasons are 1) it is a school that promotes social justice at the front of its work, and 2) co-op!

Co-op isn’t just a chance to get out into the real legal world twice a year, it is also a chance to get out of Boston and spend 11 weeks working wherever in the world it is that you think you’ll end up. Which is why, after three months of blizzards, freezing rain, and snow days, I finished my finals, packed my bags and headed to the Southwest for my second co-op.

This is my first week as a legal intern for the ACLU of Arizona. Over the next ten weeks, I will be sharing my experience co-oping at the ACLU here on the NUSL blog.

The first week of any new position is nerve-wracking, but I did not have much free time to be nervous because after a welcome to the office, I was immediately thrown into work preparing for upcoming depositions and trial. Because my last co-op was doing direct immigration legal aid, it did not involve any litigation. While I loved working with low-income immigrants, I am excited to get a chance to work on litigation to see if that is something I can see myself doing in the future.

This experimentation is one of the best things about co-ops at NUSL. Before my first co-op, I was nervous about interacting with clients every day. People with very urgent immigration situations trusted me to help them, and with my supervising attorney, I learned how to do just that. And I discovered that I love the process of working with clients. I love hearing their stories, their goals, and figuring out a way to help them.

This co-op, I won’t have much client-contact, but that is okay too. So far, I’m really enjoying learning how litigators prepare for depositions, and getting lost in legal research of novel questions. Practicing my Spanish and attempting to eat every taco in the state of Arizona are just bonuses.

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