Summer Internship Q&A: Sophia Barclay 2L

Sophia Barclay 2L is interning with The Children’s Law Center (CLC), a non-profit law firm that represents children in a range of legal disputes.

How is your internship going?

It’s been very good so far. Being an attorney for a child is a unique position. Most of the matters I work on involve custody, visitation, paternity, and guardianship.

I’ve interviewed children and appeared in court on their behalf.

The youngest child I interviewed was 8 years old, though I sat in on an interview with a 3-year-old. The oldest child I interviewed was 15.

What projects and tasks are you working on?

Early in the internship I went to court every day to observe senior attorneys, which was fascinating. I’ve also done research and writing. I just finished writing an affirmation in support of a motion to dismiss; I am helping to defend a child whose legal father wants to relinquish paternity. Most mornings, I’m in court. During the evenings, I’m often interviewing children and their family members.

Are there opportunities for mentoring with senior attorneys?

Definitely. Because I have two attorney mentors here, I’ve been able to see a range of work. One attorney mentor works primarily in the Integrated Domestic Violence Parts of the Supreme Court of New York. The other works on child protective proceedings in Family Court.

Are you seeing the connection between your classes and this work? 

Since I just completed my first year, I haven’t taken Family Law yet. I’ll be taking that class in the spring of 2018. However, the internship includes weekly seminars on the areas of family law that CLC practices under and how they affect our clients. I feel that the background from those seminars will be relevant when I do take Family Law. The writing skills I learned in my first-year Legal Practice course have been very relevant in drafting motions.

How does this internship link to your career interests?

Ultimately I want to practice matrimonial and family law. This internship has opened new possibilities for what I hope to do. Before law school, I didn’t even know there were agencies that worked directly with children to help protect their legal interests.