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In the belly of the beast

Having witnessed ugliness and hope during her two months as an intern with a New Orleans Public Defenders Office, Lucie Boase brings back a slice of US attorneys’ passion for justice to share with legal aid lawyers in the UK

19 July 2017

On a drizzly morning back in April, I stood in line for several hours outside the American Embassy waiting for my visa interview. My return coach had long since departed by the time my name was finally called and I struggled through a fog of fatigue to answer accurately the quick-fire questions posed at me by the stern woman behind the glass.

My intentions for visiting the US? To intern with a public defenders office, assisting court-appointed attorneys who provide representation to clients who cannot otherwise afford to pay. My motivation? A belief in the importance of access to justice for all, regardless of their means – the same belief that underpins the work I do as a paralegal and aspiring solicitor in the UK, and which inspired me to join Young Legal Aid Lawyers as a committee member last year.

As the interview drew to a close, the woman softened. ‘Crimina...

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