This summer, I had the opportunity to work as a legal intern at The James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy. This is a non-profit legal organization in Evanston, Illinois. The staff included attorneys, grant-writers, social workers, and communication experts, all of which served as my mentors throughout my internship. I formed strong relationships with the attorneys at the Moran Center as I would often accompany them at hearings and help prepare client research for their trials.
The Moran Center specializes in seeking restorative justice and taking an integrated social work and legal approach to serving juvenile clients. This proved quite interesting and rewarding when observing how the attorneys and social workers collaborated to aid clients. The tasks I performed during my internship at the Moran Center were both refreshing and fascinating. During a normal work week, I would rarely spend more than 2 whole days in the office. Similar to the attorneys at the Moran Center, I would go to courts around the Chicagoland area to either observe or help clients in the expungement and sealing process. I found my time working at the Moran Centers Expungement Help Desk located in the Cook County Municipal Courthouse one of the most rewarding components of my internship. Being able to use the legal knowledge I learned from previous experiences and training from my internship to directly impact clients gave me a sense of autonomy.
Developing a strong relationship with the attorneys during my internship and as a result, communicating with clients was extremely insightful. It gave me a deeper look into the legal system and how it operates, especially, for juvenile offenders. Furthermore, my work at the Moran Center gave me an understanding of the shortcomings, inequities and perplexing policies in the legal system that I would like to further explore. More positively, my time at the Moran Center gave me hope for the future of our justice system, as Juvenile convictions and arrest have been greatly decreasing. Though I am not sure whether I want to pursue family law, the practice of law in general intrigues me and I am grateful for this experience.