Summer Jobs Snapshot: Exploring the City's Law Department

While many high school students spend their summers studying for the SATs or socializing with friends, Kharlita Chambers-Walker and Julian Smith-Sparks have visited the Boston Police Department to view crime lab evidence and have observed a jury trial, thanks to the BBA Summer Jobs Program – definitely not your average summer.

As one might expect, holding a summer job in the City of Boston’s Law Department has provided these two students – Kharlita a recent graduate of Charlestown High School and Julian a rising junior at the English School – with a wealth of knowledge and some truly unique experiences. Besides the clerical work they have done within the office, they described a trip to the Boston Police Department, an outing to Land Court, and the City Council ballot drawing. “I never cared about this kind of thing until I was here,” said Julian. They agreed that this job has taught them better time management skills, event engagement, and how to accept their mistakes.

But the students are not the only ones who benefit from this experience. William Sinnott, Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston, stated: “Both of our summer interns have assisted us in completing some long overdue office tasks in a timely manner. Their enthusiasm for learning about the legal field and the city itself has made a positive impact on the office… We love the BBA Summer Jobs Program because it brings a freshness and vitality to the office. The enthusiasm of the students, some of them working their first jobs ever, is infectious.”

The students have absorbed their surroundings eagerly, already expressing the impact it has made on them. “I definitely think this job will help with my future plans,” said Kharlita. “I’ve learned the lingo of the law, I’ve been meeting new people and networking – and it’s just diversified my work ethic. I was interested in the law before I got here, but now, especially after watching the City Council proceedings, I’m also more into politics and thinking about studying political science.”

Another advantage to this summer has been social: Kharlita and Julian have respectively enjoyed City Council and visiting the Boston Police Department, but together they agreed that one of the summer highlights was the department’s professional development outing. This allowed them to participate in staff activities with the department in a relaxed setting that was, by their accounts, a lot of fun.

The core of experience, however, has been the gradual transformation of their worldviews and developing understanding of the city, its people, and its laws. While talking about their trip to the Boston Police Department, Julian mentioned, “I’d never taken a tour before or saw what was going on in there…it was a real eye-opener.”

“Working in a legal environment can be a transformational experience for these young men and women,” added Sinnott. “Every firm that cares about the quality of life in our city should consider sponsoring a student or two.”

Dawn Beauchesne (Senior Assistant Corporation Counsel), Cathy Lizotte (Senior Assistant Corporation Counsel), Kharlita Chambers-Walker, Julian Smith-Sparks and Bill Sinnott (Corporation Counsel)