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In the Spotlight: NAC Member Claire O’Brien on Helping Law Students Cultivate their Public Service Passions

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Claire O’Brien is an associate director of the career center at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri.

At Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Claire O’Brien advises students pursuing a variety of careers, including careers in public service.

In conversation with Catherine Williams, former marketing and communications assistant at Equal Justice Works, Claire discussed what motivated her to join the Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee (NAC) and how her work as a law school professional informs her role as a member of the committee.

“I was working with a student who was heavily involved in the public interest community at Washington University and had worked in public interest internships for two summers. She saw the advertisement for the NAC application come up and recommended the position to me. As soon as I spoke with the student, I realized that this would be a perfect fit,” said Claire.

As part of her work as associate director of the career center, Claire helps students identify and cultivate their public service passions throughout law school.

“It’s one thing to learn torts, evidence, or criminal law in the classroom—but you’re shielded from how the law actually looks in the field. I think when you are out in your community and interacting with people who have real legal problems, there is nothing that can replace that experience,” said Claire.

In addition to discussing her role at Washington University School of Law, Claire spoke about why it is important for law students to get involved in pro bono work, how law schools can help create more public service opportunities for law students, and the many resources that Equal Justice Works provides for law students. 

To learn more about our National Advisory Committee, visit here.

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow