“Getting out there in the real world, working with clients, working with attorneys, going into the courthouse, seeing that whole experience is just different from a school atmosphere, and I think it was very critical.”
The Valedictorian Who Is an Advocate for Juvenile Offenders
A familiar adage tells us life is short. However, for juvenile offenders sentenced to life without parole, it is very long. And for those lacking a legal advocate or other outside support, it can be hopeless. That is why Concord Law School graduate Tracy Liberatore plans to use her law degree to help people who otherwise would not be able to have legal services.
When Tracy enrolled in Concord Law School, she had been working as a physician assistant for 9 years in Scranton, Pennsylvania, after graduating from Marywood University in 2002.
Law school had always been on her radar, and with her medical background, her goal of doing medical/legal consulting for attorneys was a natural fit. However, after earning an internship with Concord's Legal Education Experience Program (LEEP) with a private criminal attorney as well as the federal public defender's office, her eyes were opened to a different side of law.
"We had a lot of people with immigration issues that would come through that just needed a defense. And the kids that are sitting in jail, and some of them have been sitting there for a while. I mean they're 30, 40, 50 years old. They went to prison at 17; they're never going to get out. They have no one to talk to. This attorney actually will go into the prisons and give them speeches and update them as far as new case law and what's up and coming with the Supreme Court on this issue."
"A lot of the work that we did was answering letters, trying to see which ones we could take on as clients, and working through that to see which ones we wanted to work with and to help them."
Prepared to Make a Difference in the World
"Concord Law School has prepared me to be able to do this work because they teach you the background and criminal law. They teach you how to do the legal research. They teach you how to do the citations. They teach you how to write papers. So they really kind of prepare you for not only the bar exam, but the reality of what's out there in the legal profession. And then to be able to get into a program such as the internship and the LEEP program, I think, is very critical to a legal education because that gives you the real life experience."
Tracy's real-world experience included working with attorneys, going to court, listening to defendants, and listening to judges as well. She actually had a judge that would take the interns back into his chambers after the trial to explain what happened and the decision.
Bringing a World-Class Education Within Arm's Reach
With the closest law school 2 to 3 hours away, it would have been impossible for Tracy to attend law school, work, and raise her daughter. Concord Law School could fit into her schedule, and she could do it at her own pace.
"Concord Law School made it possible for me to complete the degree and become an attorney."