A Law Clerk’s View: Addressing Gaps in Services for Children

Brian CraigMy time at Nebraska Appleseed has been one of growth. I have taken the skills I learned during my first year of law school and applied them to help address gaps in services for children in the state. I was able to do something that matters and learn about how the law works in the real world.

As a clerk I had the opportunity to work on various legal issues and cases and was given opportunities to play an active role in the decision-making process. Although I did traditional legal research and writing, I also sat in on meetings and was frequently asked for my opinion on many legal and non-legal issues. The staff at Appleseed want their clerks to have a meaningful and educational experience, so they do everything they can to facilitate their active involvement. This involvement may be conversations about property interests in entitlement benefits, sitting in on a conference call, or going to happy hour after work. The staff’s doors were always open and they were always more than happy to answer any questions I may have had or to sit down and work through legal theories on which I puzzled. I never once felt that the staff talked down to me, nor sensed any condescension. Rather, I felt that I was part of a team—a team working for the benefit of Nebraskans across the state.

My experience at Appleseed also forced me to work in areas of the law I had not yet studied. I learned substantive information about everything from administrative law to healthcare law to Constitutional law. As a result, I feel much more prepared going into my second year of law school and for the practice of law.

Above all, I feel as though I was able to work with a group of people who have not lost their desire to affect positive change in our state, and throughout our country. My experience has left me with a sense of optimism about what we can do as a state and as a country. Through cooperation we can right the wrongs committed. We can each make a positive difference, no matter how small. We can be the change we want. I look forward to taking the skills Appleseed has provided me, along with the public interest mindset instilled in me, into the world and to continue doing work that matters to all people, not just a few.

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