New Hampshire Legal Assistance

Helping to balance the scales of justice for everyone since 1971.

NHLA's 2022 Interns Complete Summer Internships

Posted Aug 29, 2022

On August 5, NHLA’s summer interns wrapped up their two-month internships learning about and providing legal aid alongside our staff attorneys and paralegals. Before they return to law school in the fall, we asked them to reflect on their time spent with us.

“It’s been a great experience,” said Tayla George. “It’s shown me the important role that NHLA plays in the community. Without NHLA, people would not have access to representation and no access to legal services.”

Tayla, a rising 3L at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law, entered her internship with a strong interest in immigration law. She worked with NHLA’s Manchester team on family law projects in state court and immigration law projects in federal court.

“I realized the importance of taking a wholistic look at client issues,” she said. “No one issue exists in a vacuum. So, if you are focusing on only one area, you are probably missing something else that they need help with. I might have been doing an intake for domestic violence and realized later that the client needed help with immigration. But I wouldn’t have known that until I asked.”

George Ward, a rising 2L at Boston College, worked remotely and in person at NHLA’s Portsmouth branch office. He says he most valued learning about technical lawyering and being an advocate for clients, something that is not generally taught in law school.

“I spoke with many clients as part of the investigation stage of our work with them. I was their first or second contact with NHLA. I would interview housing clients to understand their situation and what they’re going through. I really enjoyed that. Mostly, I worked with Sofia Hyatt. She is exceptional at listening to the client and their full story but also narrowing down to the legal problem we are helping them to address.”

Not every case is won for clients, and George learned that lawyers need to be there for them and support them when that happens.

“In cases like that, clients have expressed deep relief in simply knowing that someone was there for them,” he said. “Representation might not resolve a legal issue, but it can help a person navigate a difficult time in their life.”

Brianna Hankel, who interned out of the Concord office, also felt that she was able to better understand what clients go through when they seek legal help.

“Getting to connect with people and see how laws affect them has been incredibly insightful,” she said. “I would encourage law students to apply for internships with New Hampshire Legal Assistance. Everyone is welcoming and available to answer questions and you learn things that you don’t learn in school.”

Tayla, George, and Brianna are all excited to return to school this fall and apply what they’ve learned.

“Seeing how NHLA staff work with clients has shown me the type of attorney I want to be and how I want to support my clients,” Tayla said.

“There’s so much left to learn, but this was a fantastic first step,” said George. “This year, I’ll be in my school’s public defender clinic, so I’m sure that will be a great time to apply what I’ve learned at NHLA.”

Brianna, another rising 3L at UNH Law, will be doing a residency with the Disability Rights Center – New Hampshire and looks forward to doing the same type of work she did at NHLA with a different audience.

“It’s really motivated me to continue and finish law school,” she said. “I’m excited about the future.”