(Note: The pdf for the issue in which this article appears is available for download: BIFOCAL Vol. 35, Issue 4.)
I would highly recommend an internship with the Commission to anyone with interest in elder law. When I started my internship, I already had an understanding of the subject from my work at elder law firms in the northern Virginia area. Working with the Commission, I was able to see firsthand what it means to work on the policy side of the law.
I had the opportunity to attend to Commission meetings, where I was able to listen and take notes on a variety of topics relevant to elder law, and gain a firsthand experience of the policy-making process. I was also able to attend the Congressional reauthorization hearing for the Older Americans Act, which provided a window into the world of making legislation.
I also had the opportunity to work more closely with two of the Commission staff on more specific elder law topics. Under the supervision of Senior Attorney Lori Stiegel, I researched the changes to the state Adult Protective Services statutes. I also worked with Assistant Director Erica Wood on a larger project, researching guardianship and conservatorship bond statutes, creating a chart, and working on a paper summarizing those findings. The office atmosphere provides the perfect combination of independence and supervision, and everyone is always willing to answer questions. I really enjoyed this experience, and am truly thankful I was given this opportunity.
My semester at the Commission was a valuable learning experience in which I delved into the many legal issues facing older populations. It was a great way to get real world experience with guidance from attorneys with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the area.
I had the opportunity to research guardianship health care decision-making and drafted an article to be published in Bifocal, the Commission’s ejournal. I was also able to attend Congressional hearings and two of the Commission’s meetings. These provided great networking opportunities and a chance to learn about the many career opportunities in elder law.
This internship provides an opportunity to learn what it is like to work in policy and to practice and improve research and writing skills. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone who is interested in the area of elder law. ■