Dulce’s Mentor Reveals Law’s Human Side

Dulce María Castañeda BautistaName: Dulce

Year: Senior

Major: Communication Studies; Sociology

Minor: Undergraduate Leadership Program Certificate

CFS Program: Legal Field Studies

I am interning at the Legal Assistance Foundation, and so far I really love it. My supervisor is really friendly, patient, and generous with her time.

One of the most important things that I learned during my first week was the way that LAF talks about its clients. In fact, LAF does not like to call clients “clients.” Rather they prefer the term “relationships.” My supervisor has told me various stories about many of the people whom she has worked with, and every time she talks about one of them, she tells me what she learned from them. She humanizes them, and that is something I admire.

I like this approach to client-attorney relationships. I think it can be easy to forget that clients are real people who, along with legal issues, are probably struggling emotionally as well. Today I learned that we need to make sure that we humanize legal work. Although it might be easy to lose a person’s story in all the paperwork, we need to make sure that we are rooted in the reason for providing legal services. It is about the people behind all the filing of different documents. This is, at least, what motivates me to pursue a degree in law. And I hope that as I move on to a career, I do not forget the reason that I entered the field. I want to give people the power to move forward with their lives even when they are in the most vulnerable situations. I want this to push me forward and motivate me every day I work. Perhaps this is how I should approach my internship, then. I need to remember that even the smallest of tasks can have an effect on people’s lives. Even though my work as an intern may seem miniscule, I want to approach it knowing that it will be helping someone move forward with their life.