Career Outcomes: The Importance of Legal Advocacy and The Many Hats of an Employee at a Small Nonprofit

Career Outcomes: The Importance of Legal Advocacy and The Many Hats of an Employee at a Small Nonprofit

            Over the past 10 weeks, I have had the pleasure of working in all facets and sectors of  the Maine Youth Court (see my last blog post for more information about the Maine Youth Court and how I got connected with the organization).  This internship has given me great insight into the impact of restorative justice, and the power of social justice on the lives of youths and their families, and the work of employees at a small nonprofit.

Through this internship, I have been able to combine my interest of social justice and service with my enthusiasm for the law. I have seen the flaws, but also the positive hope of the Juvenile Justice System in the State of Maine and the nation as a whole. One of my most predominant roles as an intern for the Maine Youth Court has been to oversee hearings and advice students on legal dispositions. This role has provided me with the opportunity to see youths take accountability for their actions and work to repair the harm that they have caused. The Maine Youth Court is a program that not only provides offending youth with a second chance – by keeping offenses off their records and connecting them to the community, it equips them with the resources and support needed to succeed. The Maine Youth Court is an inspiring organization that has fueled my desire to fight for social justice and serve my community through legal advocacy.

This internship has taught me two remarkably important things as I work to pursue and create a career path:Additionally, this internship has transformed my career interests and most likely, my career path through the knowledge of the work at small nonprofits. The Maine Youth Court consists of two full-time employees and 75 active- trained youth volunteers. The burden of work that falls on the shoulders of the two full-time employees is remarkable and distinct. Not only do these employees advocate for the diversion of youth, conduct intake meetings, oversee hearings, and manage cases, they write grants for funding, manage the budget, and conduct all the marketing and outreach for the organization. I have learned that if I were to work at a small, legal nonprofit, I would not only work in legal advocacy but in finance, management, marketing, and administration. Furthermore, I have learned that the environment of the Maine Youth Court, and many other small nonprofits that I have worked with, may not be as face-paced as I would like in the organizations or companies that I work for.

  • I definitely do want to attend law school and work in legal advocacy
  • I want to work in a larger organization or company.

I am beyond grateful of my time with the Maine Youth Court, which has also lead me to a small work shadow of a judge at the District Courthouse in Portland, ME, because it has been amazingly interesting, educational, and most importantly enjoyable.

Written by Dylan Tureff, BC Class of 2019


Pre-Law Student at a Legal Nonprofit

This summer, I am interning at the Maine Youth Court (MYC), a restorative justice diversion program for youths who have committed a crime or broken a severe school rule. During my sophomore year of high school, I became a student volunteer for this inspiring organization. For the remainder of high school, I continued to actively volunteer for the Maine Youth Court, and I was fortunate enough to become a student leader the MYC during my senior year. While I was able to be introduced to a small facet of this remarkable organization in high school, I yearned for more exposure and experience, especially to the business and administrative aspect of this nonprofit. Consequently, I applied to Maine Youth Court’s Undergraduate Internship for this summer in hopes to gain hands-on experience and knowledge in the business and administrative facets of a nonprofit organization,to gain knowledge and experience in social justice work, and to promote social change through restorative justice.Once I applied, by sending my resume and a cover letter to a project director, I asked to come into the office for a personal interview. Following that interview, I received a phone call two weeks later, during which I was informed that I was fortunate enough to be offered the position.

I believe that my Boston College education has not only qualified me to posses this internship, but has prepared me to excel as an intern for the Maine Youth Court, through my academic coursework and my role as a student.

During the fall 2015 semester, I took “Law I: Intro to Law,” which examined the United States judicial system through the study of U.S. Courts, Torts, Criminal Laws, and the justice process in general. This class has given me a much needed background and understanding of the judicial system and process in the United States. As an intern at the Maine Youth Court, I will be able to use this academic knowledge to address District Judges, lawyers, police officers, youths, and parents on the behalf of Maine Youth Court, as we try to promote restorative justice. Here is a video, which features my two supervisors explaining restorative justice and its importance.

Furthermore, in the spring 2016 semester, I took a “Race, Law, and Resistance,” which analyzes the legal strategies by disadvantaged ethic minorities. The Maine Youth Court is a nonprofit legal organization, which works to provide social justice, restorative justice, and equality for youths in Maine, which were essential topics in this class. Race, Law, and Resistance exposed me to the current injustices in the U.S Judicial System, which I can use to understand and emphasize with youths who are completing the Maine Youth Court Program.

As a student at Boston College, I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about the use of computers, research, and websites, which I have already needed to use at this internship. Last week, I completely revamped the Maine Youth Court website for additional information and content.

In conclusion, BC has provided me with an understanding of the US Judicial System, social justice, and a technological understanding that will allow me to excel as an intern for Maine Youth Court.

Written by Dylan Tureff, BC Class of 2019