(Note: The pdf for the issue in which this article appears is available for download: BIFOCAL Vol. 35, Issue 2.)
Spending the semester as an extern for the Commission gave me a look into the issues that affect the senior population. Prior to my position as an intern, I did not know of all the challenges faced by seniors in trying to access basic human needs such as income and health care. I was also unaware of how the maltreatment of seniors affects not only those with advanced age, but bears upon us all.
I was amazed by how many opportunities I was given to witness the “real world” of Washington politics. In the first few weeks, I attended a Senate hearing and various briefings and meetings with government agencies. However, I must say that the most rewarding experience came when I was able to hear oral argument before the Supreme Court.
The in-office work proved to be just as fulfilling. I was responsible for interpreting and analyzing state statutes and researching case law in multiple jurisdictions. I also received the opportunity to submit an article to Bifocal. Furthermore, the entire staff was welcoming and helpful. The friendly office environment made it so I was never hesitant to ask questions nor intimidated to offer my opinion. The knowledge and experience I gained here at the Commission is truly invaluable. I would definitely recommend this experience to other law students!
After my experience this fall, I would definitely recommend an internship with the Commission on Law and Aging to any law students interested in pursuing a career in elder law. I had the opportunity to work with attorney Erica Wood on original research in the field of adult guardianship, completing an extensive comparison of state statutes on the subject. Ms. Wood is a nationally recognized expert in this field and there was no better way to jump into the subject.
I also studied how the Affordable Care Act might affect the elderly, completing an article providing advice for consumers to avoid health care fraud. Through the Commission I had the opportunity to work directly with elder law experts from across the nation.
I also had a wide variety of exciting opportunities throughout the semester, viewing oral arguments at the Supreme Court, attending briefings at the U.S. Capitol, and participating in a forum at the Federal Trade Commission. Interning with the Commission opens a myriad of doors for any law student, and the experience was certainly a positive one.