My Summer at ACT
This past summer, I worked as a legal intern for Advocates for Community Transformation (ACT). As I reflect on my summer and my time spent with ACT, I realize that my work this summer has been much more than an educational experience for me. At a time in law school when I am making decisions regarding the career path I will take, ACT served as a perfect reminder to me of why I wanted to become a lawyer to begin with.
Undoubtedly, ACT has been a great legal experience. My favorite tasks, though, were the tasks that involved me engaging members of the community. At a very high level, ACT serves inner-city neighbors by ridding their communities of crime and blight. However, the work ACT does goes much deeper than that. Working with ACT taught me that any legal organization needs to serve all of the needs of their clients, not just their legal needs. Within my own career, taking this approach with each of my clients will almost certainly yield positive results. Rather than treating people as a means to a particular end, people should simply be treated as people.
While the lessons I learned during my summer at ACT will serve my legal career well, what I am most grateful for is the way my time at ACT has changed me. Law school can sometimes seem like a chase for success, but this summer has redefined what success means to me. Success starts when others are put before self. I saw no greater example of this than by the way the people I worked around interacted with one another. Every member of the staff committed time to connect with the residents ACT seeks to serve. By developing these relationships, the whole organization had personal stake in fulfilling ACT’s mission.
The most important takeaway from my time at ACT comes from my conversations with the residents of West Dallas. They taught me the importance of being grounded, humble, and thankful for what I have no matter how big or small. My relationships and conversations have rejuvenated my desire to serve others within my own career. Regardless of what type of law I practice, giving up my time for others will always be a priority.
As I reflect on my summer, I realize that ACT gave me so much more than I gave in return. I broadened my legal skills and education. I developed lasting friendships and relationships with the staff. I learned what it means to work and live selflessly. And most importantly, I was reminded of why I wanted to go to law school in the first place. By serving others, I will reap more benefits than I could imagine. As I move forward with my career, I hope my time at ACT serves as a snapshot of a career marked by faith, selfless service, and generous justice for the people and communities surrounding me.