Sara Smith '14 is interning at the ACLU in New Jersey
This series highlights the positions Seton Hall Law students have pursued this summer to apply their learning thus far, further define their career paths, and hone their legal skills. Sara Smith '14 writes about her position at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) at its New Jersey office:
"I am a legal intern at the ACLU-NJ, which works to protect civil liberties in New Jersey by responding to complaints and monitoring government activity as well as through public education efforts. As a legal intern, I assist the attorneys with legal research and writing for impending litigation, amicus briefs, demand letters and drafting comments for proposed state rules that relate to civil liberties issues.
I also get to accompany attorneys to trials, go to attorney visits for incarcerated clients in state prisons, and attend various events at the state house in Trenton including a recent press conference about the Supreme Court's decisions in Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor and how it will influence the future of marriage equality in New Jersey.
"The ACLU-NJ is in a unique position because of its proximity to the national ACLU office in New York City. This means the ACLU-NJ is more closely connected to national efforts than other state affiliates.
"I chose the ACLU-NJ because I wanted the opportunity to work on issues that really change people's lives and promote a more equal society. I was particularly interested in the New Jersey affiliate because it is smaller than the national office, and I knew I would be able to get more hands-on experience as a legal intern. I also wanted to work in an environment where people are passionate about their work and feel they are working toward meaningful goals. This position is a perfect fit for my intended career path because I really want to use my law degree to work for social justice.
"I first became interested in Seton Hall because of the Health Law program and have enjoyed my classes is that area. I view health and health equity as a human rights issue and want my career path to focus on expanding health access, especially women's health. Health is an essential component in building a more equal society because it intersects with so many other issues that impact social justice including the effects of systemic racism, class biases, and other forms of discrimination. It is so encouraging to have the opportunity to work with an organization that is dedicated to defending and extending civil liberties for all people."
Sara will serve in the Seton Hall Law Center for Social Justice Equal Justice Clinic in Spring 2014.