Socially-conscious law internships

Law professionals do more than sit in a courtroom. Second-year UNB law student Sarah Rouse discovered, those working in law can be agents of change for the vulnerable.

Non-traditional areas of law

UNB Law students can learn hands-on skills through internships with socially conscious community partners. Sarah completed a social justice internship during the summer of 2016 with the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, funded by the faculty of law.

The internship allowed her to begin a project on youth criminal justice, specifically the intersection between youth in governmental care and the criminal justice system. Sarah continues to work on this project as part of a directed research study at UNB.

Sarah also spent part of her summer at the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research, working on a project with immigrant women facing intimate partner violence.

“These projects related to my interest in access to justice issues and allowed me to explore non-traditional areas of law,” she said.

Unique responsibility

Both internships allowed Sarah to learn about alternative areas of the law and the challenges many people face in accessing justice.

“Social issues have been of great interest to me since my undergrad, so it was amazing to work alongside the lawyers and other advocates who are working to tackle issues such as high youth criminal justice rates or intimate partner violence,” she said.

Sarah’s internships and research opportunities have enhanced her desire to work in the public law sector, either through legal aid work or through specialized public prosecutions.

“Members of the legal profession have a unique responsibility to advocate for those who are most vulnerable in society, and I feel very fortunate to have worked with likeminded agents of change.”

Internships nurture practical skills

Sarah earned her bachelor’s degree at UNB’s Renaissance College (RC) and was drawn to UNB Law because of its small class sizes and affordable tuition. She learned the value of hands-on experience while studying at RC. Sarah also completed an internship in Burkina Faso, which ignited her passion for helping others.

“These experiences contributed to my education by allowing me to put the skills that I have learned in the classroom into practice,” she said.

She plans to continue gaining practical experiential skills in preparation for her future career as a lawyer.

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