This summer I have been working at Legal Aid Society in the Manhattan office. I am working as an undergraduate social work intern in the Juvenile Rights Practice Unit. I am supervised by a social worker who works at my office.
Each day is different at my internship. Sometimes I spend hours sitting in court observing mostly child abuse cases, neglect cases, and juvenile delinquency cases. Some days I accompany my supervisor at conferences that are held for her clients. I have also attended a few home visits. I spend a lot of time with my supervisor discussing her different cases. I have written reports based on home visit interviews I have conducted. I have attended client conferences alone, represented Legal Aid at them and reported back notes to my supervisor and the staff attorney. I have met many clients during intake, before their court hearings, in detention at the court house, in the detention centers around the city, and at their homes. I feel like usually my role is to observe, learn, and ask questions. Sometimes I am given the opportunity to participate if I am conducting an interview or representing Legal Aid at a conference.
I have learned so much about the family court system. Many views that I thought I had before have changed and matured. I find myself frequently frustrated, passionate, empathetic, saddened, and sometimes even angry with the cases I am exposed to. My feelings about some cases and aspects of the family court system have even been surprising to me. The extent to which I get attached to certain cases and clients has also surprised me. I enjoy seeing the direct impact that Legal Aid staff has on their clients and their client’s lives.