Current student describes professional work experience in a legal clinic

Written by Current MPA Student: John Williamson

In 2018, I entered the UNC MPA program. To be honest, I had no idea what my future career path would look like at that time. What I did know is that I eventually wanted to enter the legal profession as an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves, so I also enrolled in law school at the University of Houston that fall. Three years later, I am now on the cusp of graduation in both programs, and will be entering the full-time workforce this summer as a commercial litigation attorney in Houston, Texas. Through the MPA’s Professional Work Experience (PWE) requirement, I believe that I have found my career calling.

Through the PWE program, I found an internship that has allowed me to intersect my two passions; law and public service. I am currently working as a student attorney in the Consumer Law Clinic at University of Houston. This Clinic has proved to be the perfect combination of my two different, but related, graduate degrees. The Consumer Law Clinic serves the Greater Houston area by providing free legal services to those who cannot afford competent representation. I am specifically involved in the actual representation of our Clinic clients as well as general oversight of administrative work related to improving our community outreach.

While my legal education has prepared me to provide adequate representation to our clients, my Public Administration education has provided me with the tools necessary to assist managing a public organization such as this Clinic. Specific tools that I have developed include, but are not limited to, project management, leadership, and communication skills. The skills that I learned in the UNC MPA program have prepared me to not only work in any public administrative role, but to also be an active leader in such a position.

I highly recommend this MPA program, and PWE component, as it will not only teach you key concepts regarding public administration, but the program will also assist you in finding a work opportunity tailored towards your personal interests and expertise. I can proudly say that UNC has helped me find and develop my passion. My overarching goal upon completing the program is to pursue a legal career in which I provide legal representation to those who cannot afford it.