A Passion for Good
Kirby Gordon, RWU Class of 2018Juris DoctorStudent
For Philadelphia native Kirby Gordon, law school offered a perk she didn’t quite expected: a pass to the Bill Cosby rape and sexual assault trials.
“It was exciting and overwhelming; there were so many people!” she recalls. “But it was great to watch real, practicing attorneys at work in such a high-profile trial – seeing it all in real time; law the way it’s supposed to be practiced. We would critique their styles and techniques, trying to reconcile what we learned at school with what we were seeing in the courtroom.”
That “we” includes Kirby and her fellow interns at the Montgomery County (Penn.) Public Defender’s Office, where she spent the summer after her 2L year. Kirby was offered the internship on the spot while attending the Equal Justice Works Career Fair in Washington, D.C. – a perk offered to Public Interest Law students through the Career Development Office at RWU Law.
Until she got to Roger Williams, however, Kirby wasn’t sure she was even interested in Public Interest Law.
“I entered law school with an open mind, hoping to figure out what resonated for me within the legal profession,” she says. “My undergraduate experience studying psychology and criminal justice was a big part of why I decided to attend law school. I wanted to try everything!”
For Kirby, the broad spectrum of RWU Law’s curriculum, experiential opportunities and alumni placements seemed to offer exactly the flexibility she sought. But it was the school’s 50-hour Pro Bono Experiential Learning Requirement – and its unique experiential guarantee that helps fulfill it – that turned her definitively toward public interest.
“My internship in the Montgomery County PD’s office was my dream job. It really solidified my decision to become a public defender. My advice to incoming law students would be to take advantage of every opportunity that you can while at RWU Law. Through those experiences, you’ll be able to discover how best to utilize your passion and skills.”
Kirby attributes her career path decision to the opportunities afforded to her through the school’s pro bono programs and the Criminal Defense Clinic.
“My advice to incoming law students would be to take advantage of every opportunity that you can while at RWU Law,” she says. “Through those experiences, you’ll be able to discover how best to utilize your passion and skills.”