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First-Year Summer Fellowship Builds Résumés, Opens Doors, and Makes Students Practice Ready
Karolina Bak '18

New England Law program: “An overwhelmingly positive experience”

Phaleya Burnside '18
Phaleya Burnside '18 

Arne Hantson '18

Arne Hantson '18 

May 25, 2017:  For some first-year students, it’s their first time in a courtroom. For others, it’s an epiphany that reveals newly-expanded horizons or a springboard to their legal career. Since its launch in 2013, the transformative potential of New England Law | Boston’s Summer Fellowship Program has been evident and has resulted in post-bar job offers and other opportunities for students to continue connections with their host organizations. 

The fellowships enable first-year students to gain valuable skills and contacts and enhance their career prospects in a range of legal specialties and settings, and the $3,500 school-paid stipends make them accessible to many students who would be unable to participate otherwise.

“The fellowship program is part of our continuing effort to help students become as prepared as possible for the practice of law,” said Dean John F. O’Brien. “It helps our students gain meaningful experience that assists them in the job market.”

The opportunity is available to first-year Day and Evening Division students and second-year Evening Division students. The law school’s three academic centers work together and with the Career Services Office to identify placements and help students connect with potential supervisors. New England Law alumni also provide assistance.

Eighty-five students took part in the 2016 Summer Fellowship Program, honing their legal skills and making valuable career contacts in attorney general, prosecutor’s, and public defender offices; courts in New England, New York, and Nevada; law firms and corporate legal departments; nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts, California, Florida, and Texas; and state and city government agencies.

The fellowships of Karolina Bak ’18, Phaleya Burnside ’18, and Arne Hantson ’18 hint at the range of placements and opportunities that are benefiting New England Law students.

“All of the judges were absolutely amazing.”

Karolina Bak ’18 went from having never been in a courtroom to literally seeing things from a judge’s perspective during her summer fellowship, as she often got to sit up front with the judge at the Massachusetts Land Court. “It was interesting watching the attorneys and how they presented their cases,” she said.  “I learned a lot of what not to do.”

She received encouragement from Judge Alexander H. Sands III, a retired “recall judge” whom she worked with primarily, and other court personnel.

“At first it was kind of scary working with the judge, one on one, because it’s such a prestigious position,” she said. “But all of the judges were absolutely amazing. They had an open door policy so if you had a question you could just walk in and ask them, and the law clerks were the same way.”

Bak enthusiastically recommends the experience. “I’ll put it this way: I wouldn’t be able to say enough good things about it.”

“It definitely opened options for me”

“It opened my eyes to abilities I didn’t know that I had,” said Phaleya Burnside ’18 about her summer fellowship with the firm of Williamson and Melendez, where she discovered her desire to assist athletes with business opportunities.

“One of the clients was a free agent and they were working on renewing his contract with the team he already played for,” said Burnside. “(Williamson) showed me the different figures and endorsements that he could potentially get for his client. “

Burnside had suggestions for enhancing the client’s “brand” through social media, which Williamson acted upon. “It definitely opened options for me rather than just narrowing it to sports and entertainment," said Burnside. "I want to do business.”

Burnside had launched several noteworthy events as president of the Black Law Students Association, which she says came from her “vision” for the student group.  Similarly, as a summer fellow she was encouraged to offer advice on business marketing and received positive feedback as a “visionary.”

“That’s probably the biggest thing I learned,” she said, and she credits the fellowship for helping her identify a talent for imagining improved scenarios.

“It’s just invaluable”

“It was an overwhelmingly positive experience,” said Arne Hantson ’18, about his summer fellowship in the Framingham Region office of the Middlesex District Attorney's Office.  The office, which serves New England’s largest county, was so pleased with his work that he was rehired for summer 2017.

Hantson observed court proceedings, helped with legal research, and assisted the office’s attorneys with case preparation and other administrative tasks. “I did pretty much anything that the attorneys would do themselves,” he said.

“It was all new for me and really exciting. There were a lot of interesting cases.”

Hantson has always been attracted to criminal law and the real-world experience cemented his interest. “It’s just invaluable and I just know it’s what I want to do after I graduate.”

Summer Fellowship Program

Career Services Office

Academic Centers