Ashley D. Rozes
Class of 2018
One of the best experiences I’ve had at law school.
The best experience I had in law school was during an internship I arranged with the help of our alumni and another legal mentor. My second year of law school I interned with the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office. I had originally selected to work with the white collar crimes units, but upon some encouragement from the internship directors, I was placed with the Domestic Violence Unit. To say I was petrified would be an understatement. The first task I was given was to research law on not only the state constitution but also the federal constitution for a valid waiver of Miranda and the right to an attorney. I remember my legal writing professor who was a district attorney in Massachusetts telling me to “own it, and do not let them know you are nervous.” I produced a brief on the law and then subsequent briefs on specific issues within the case. I remember handing my attorney the first brief and immediately hiding out expecting the worst. To my surprise he came running with excitement as I had provided him what he needed to succeed. In the end I was able to help the state secure a second-degree murder conviction and send away the convicted for two life sentences. It was one of the most meaningful and memorable experiences of my life, and I realized that despite the struggles of a part-time evening student’s life, I had what it took to succeed as a lawyer.
Favorite class I’ve taken.
My favorite class was Advanced Legal Analysis with Professor Robert Coulthard, aka “Coach.” There are many reasons this class, one of my final courses at New England Law, became my favorite. First, Coach brings a sense of excitement and fun to the classroom, which is so out of the ordinary for a law school. Though his methods are unconventional, rest assured, this man is a genius! He kept us on our toes with challenges (and laughter!), and by the time we sat for his final exam, which included about 65% of the bar exam rules going to be tested, we were well-oiled “bar-crushing” machines. I have had never had so much fun taking an exam! I could recite almost everything, I understood the rules, and I could apply the rules! He set me up for confidence and self-discipline in attacking my upcoming bar exam.
On my Classmates
My classmates are the best of the best. We are a unit. Without helping and supporting one another, we would not succeed. This is an ideal truly embraced by each one of my classmates. If someone misses a class, there is no hesitation in taking and sharing notes for them, as well as collecting and delivering any handouts or materials. While we all faced monumental challenges, especially as part-time evening students, we all got through it because we stuck together.
I owe so many of my law school successes to our diverse group of talented alumni. From day one at New England Law, and even through the initial application process, I was under the wing of some of the kindest alumni. On countless occasions they have taken time out of their busy practices to sit with me and “strategize my future,” from course selections to picking exciting paper topics to the most important choice of where to sit for the bar. These alumni had the right words of encouragement too—even when I didn’t even know I needed them. Most recently one of our alumni wrote one of my letters of recommendation for my bar exam application. He delivered the letter, taking the train from Rhode Island to Boston. He then took me to lunch to celebrate with an amazing view from the thirty-eighth floor of The Harvard Club, where we talked about my accomplishments and finally being at the end of the road we call law school. He said he hoped that in ten years I would be doing the same as he was, sitting in the Harvard Club with a student I had mentored and telling them “I knew you could do it.” There are truly no others like the alumni at New England Law.
The education I have received at New England Law has proven to be one of the most valuable investments of my life. The analytical skills that were perfected behind the walls of the classrooms were quickly transferable into the employment setting. I easily transitioned from one industry to another, industries with completely different rules and regulations and operating under different authorities. My ability to adapt, learn, and comprehend were a direct result of the time, dedication, and discipline instilled by the teaching and administrative staff.
One Piece of Advice for Someone Trying to Decide Where to Go to Law School
The best piece of advice I can give future law students in choosing their school is to do their homework. There is so much more to law school than clinical programs, graduation rates, and bar passage scores. While these things are important, so are the things that can’t be quantified by statistics, like out-of-the ordinary academic experiences and alumni impact. What are alumni doing in the community locally as well as nationally? How involved are alumni in the school itself? Do they mentor students and network with them at school events? By the time you’re sitting down to make your law school decision, you should feel confident that you will achieve academically and get the support and interaction you need to achieve your goals. So I encourage you to look deeply into the history of the institution and embrace a law school that takes pride in its past, present, and future alumni. In my experience, it is these things that have proven to be the most important in succeeding in law school and setting myself setup for success post-graduation.