The following blog post is written by Michael Aiello, whom the Center for Global Justice funded to be an International Justice Mission intern in Thailand. Michael is also a legal graduate assistant and student staff member at CGJ.
|Michael in Thailand during his 2014 Internship
It is rare that an individual can identify a day, a moment, or a single sentence that oriented his life’s trajectory. However, that is exactly what happened to me.
I just completed my bachelor’s degree and wrote two senior theses on human trafficking. I received an internship with International Justice Mission, who is a leader on combating human trafficking around the world. IJM has a robust mentorship program, so I asked one of their VPs for some career advice.
He told me, “If you want to make a real difference in the lives of the oppressed, you need to use the law.”
In other words, he told me that I should go to law school to gain the legal skills necessary to become an advocate for the oppressed. I was already thinking about going to law school. So I went back to my desk and googled, “law school & ‘human trafficking.’” The second hit was for Regent Law’s Center for Global Justice.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I found exactly what I was looking for: a law school with expertise on using the rule of law to combat human trafficking. Therefore, I decided to find out more about Regent Law and the Center.
I learned that Regent is one of a few law schools that offers a class on human trafficking. In addition, the Center offers two ways to gain tangible skills. First, their student staff works on meaningful projects during the school year by providing free legal support to various organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom, Advocates International, Shared Hope International, and other quality organizations. Second, the Center provides grants to students so they can complete summer internships with these organizations and gain skills on the front lines.
Since joining the student staff, I have written many legal memos and briefs. For example, I wrote a memo on how Oregon could amend their hearsay laws to make prosecuting human traffickers more efficient; I compiled and annotated all of Thailand’s laws on child sexual assault; and I am currently writing a brief on how municipalities can regulate a sexually-oriented business using time, place, manner restrictions under the First Amendment. The Center also provided me with two summer grants that allowed me to intern with IJM in Thailand and intern with a local prosecution office.
It is amazing how one piece of advice can change your entire life. In my case a single sentence led me to Regent Law and the Center for Global Justice. Now I am gaining the legal skills necessary to be an advocate for the oppressed.