Participant Profile: Rachel A. Batterson
Where I work
Vermont Legal Aid in the Fair Housing (Housing Discrimination) Unit
My job title
Director of Intake and Project Manager of the Housing Discrimination Law Project
My job function
I protect and advance Vermonters' civil rights by representing people who have been discriminated against in housing by landlords, realtors, housing providers, or government entities or officials.
Description of employer
Vermont Legal Aid is an independent, nonprofit, statewide legal service program with approximately 70 employees. We represent low-income people, elders, victims of domestic violence, people with health insurance problems, people with disabilities, and victims of housing discrimination throughout Vermont who have been denied justice or the necessities of life.
Interest in public service prior to Georgetown Law
Yes. I knew before attending law school that I wanted to work in a program providing legal services to poor people. I worked at Vermont Legal Aid as an Administrative Assistant before I applied to Georgetown Law.
Specific event, class or professor who inspired me to enter into public interest/government employment
I knew I wanted to pursue law in the public interest before applying to Georgetown Law. Professors Cole, Cashin, Gottesman, Mlyniec, Schotland, and Schrag, as well as the OPICS office staff, helped me maintain my commitment to public interest law during law school.
Steps taken while at Georgetown Law to pursue a career in public interest
I took part in two law school clinics, two summer internships at legal services programs and one school-year legal services internship. I also was a student representative to Georgetown Law 's Long-Range Planning committee. I wrote my "A paper" on the implementation of TANF (welfare reform) in Vermont and published that paper as a student note in the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy.
My involvement with OPICS while at Georgetown Law
OPICS was an essential resource for me during law school both in professional development as well as supporting my commitment to pursuing a career in legal services.
My experience with public interest positions since graduating Georgetown Law
Vermont Legal Aid was my dream job and the only job I applied for after graduation. I've worked for Vermont Legal ever since. Being a staff attorney here is still my dream job. I've also worked half-time for Legal Services Law Line of Vermont--the other statewide legal services program in Vermont.
How LRAP benefits enable me to remain in a public interest career
It's simple. Without LRAP, I couldn't work for Vermont Legal Aid. LRAP is vital to Georgetown Law graduates working in the public interest.
What I like most about my position
Using the law to help people whose rights and needs are too often ignored by society.
What I am most proud of in relation to my work
Representing individual clients who would otherwise not have a lawyer and would have to represent themselves. Getting our statewide website up and running and populated with useful legal information, forms and referral information for the clients we aren't able to represent.
My overall opinion of LRAP
LRAP is vital. LRAP makes it possible for Georgetown Law graduates to use their law degrees to represent people and interests that would otherwise be without the skills of a lawyer.