Michael shares insight on his job as a staff attorney at Northeast New Jersey Legal Services in its housing unit and offers advice for students considering social impact careers.
What do you like most about this position?
I work every day directly with underserved populations in need. My clients would face severe consequences— including eviction or foreclosure—without free legal services that I provide. It is immensely rewarding to have a direct, immediate and tangible impact on someone's life.
What advice do you have for a student exploring career options in your field?
Seek out opportunities to work directly with those in need. The more you interact with and hear directly from people who do not have the advantages that many of us do, the better you can understand what you can do to help them.
When you think about your Princeton experience, what was helpful in preparing you for your career?
Princeton's informal motto of "In the nation’s service and the service of humanity" helped to instill in me a drive toward public interest work. I didn't necessarily expect to wind up in the field that I'm in, but Princeton helped teach me to seek out new challenges and opportunities, so I had the willingness to dive into a new field when I had the chance.
What advice do you have for students interested in your field?
Spend less time talking and more time listening. Every interaction doesn't need to be about pitching yourself for a job; it's good to be open to hearing what others do and thinking about how their jobs might interest you. That way, when you do take the leap to apply for something, you can honestly and completely answer the all-important question of "Why do you want to come work here?"