Andrew Young '20ILR Experience: Intern, New York Center for Law and Justice
I really liked law in high school, though I wasn’t sure it was something I wanted to practice after my undergraduate experience. What I liked about ILR is that all of my interests were combined together into one dynamic major. I could learn how law, politics, conflict, government and organizational behavior all interact, and not just in the academic realm. The ability to apply what you are learning in the classroom to the real world is something I’ve really come to appreciate during my time here.
Learning Beyond the Classroom
I’m currently working with a professor in Cornell’s Law School on a project focused on post-conviction investigations in sexual assault and murder cases to see if there is potential for exoneration due to wrongful conviction. I've always been interested in the Innocence Project, and I’m really grateful to get first-hand research experience that we hope can impact cases.
I am also going to Zambia this summer through ILR’s Global Service Learning program, which partners with the Global Health program at Cornell. We’ll be working to see how health issues are related to workers’ rights in Zambia, while learning local traditions and customs. I’ve never really had the opportunity to go abroad or travel when I was growing up, so I’m very excited to leave the country for the first time and become immersed in the culture.
I really like to debate and be engaged in intellectual arguments, so my favorite ILR class was Introduction to Conflict Resolution and Negotiation with Professor Alex Colvin. We learned the strategies and the more academic, theoretical components behind the different ways to address conflict, and then we applied them to real-life situations. Whether discussing a business scenario, like negotiating for a new car, or a personal one, like disagreements between roommates, we explored how to best convey our interests and present our arguments while maintaining a relationship and trying to stay as civil as possible.
During winter break and the summer after my freshman year, I was an intern for ILR alumnus Bruce Gitlin at the New York Center for Law and Justice, a law firm in New York City that does free legal work for the deaf community living below the poverty line. It’s a relatively small firm, which was nice because I wasn’t just doing clerical work. I was meeting with and conducting preliminary interviews of clients, going to federal and state court, and working with the lawyers to make sure we were providing the best representation possible to clients. The experience showed me how public interest law combines social justice and legal issues, so I look forward to pursuing other opportunities in this area in the future. The internship was unpaid, so I’m incredibly grateful for Cornell and ILR because they helped out by sponsoring my experience. I received a stipend to cover transportation costs to commute into New York City and food costs for lunch.