Guest Blogger Bobby Baseman: What It’s like to be a Law Intern

View from LA Superior Court

View from LA Superior Court

The elation I felt when landing an internship at the non-profit legal services organization Bet Tzedek fizzled into uncertainty on the first day of orientation. Sure, I’d done my homework and knew Bet Tzedek is a huge operation including departments such as the Holocaust Reparations unit and the Employment Rights Project, but part of me, the lazy part, kept wondering if I was ready for 9-5, dress shoes and slacks after a measly one-week post-finals break.

Bet Tzedek

The morning of my first day I woke up early, anxious to be on time, excited to meet my fellow Bet Tzedek interns and curious about which department I would be working in. In my eager, slightly over-caffeinated state and still gripping my to-go USC coffee mug, I followed the signs to the multipurpose room. I trotted through the large double doors and met the internship coordinator who directed me to sign in. So anxious to get going, I skipped right over my own name, my eyes flitting everywhere and missing the obvious. Finally I found my name along with my assignment: Conservatorship. Conservatorship? I did not even know what the word meant. To make matters worse, the other interns all seemed to be law students and I am an undergraduate. Surely I couldn’t be the only undergrad. Before I had time to seek out another intern my age we were asked to sit down.

Over the next three days, I did meet a few other undergraduates and I learned more about Conservatorships. The lawyer in charge clearly explained that conservatorships are for people who have some sort of disability and cannot make medical, financial, and other decisions for themselves. Those of us working in this department would assist clients who needed the legal right to make important choices for their developmentally disabled child who has turned 18 or an adult with Alzheimer’s disease or other debilitating condition.

All summer as a Bet Tzedek intern, I have worked at different clinics throughout Los Angeles. It took time to get the hang of interviewing clients and properly filling out forms with them. Navigating the complexities of the court system is no easy task, so Bet Tzedek clients who cannot afford an attorney and who may not have had any formal education really rely on our help.

It is a privilege to work for one of the most successful pro bono law firms dealing with social justice. Through helping others, I’ve learned so much. And now that I know what it is, I can say that being assigned to the conservatorship department has been a good fit.

Just before I began my internship, my grandmother passed away. During the last few years of her life she struggled with Alzheimer’s. Throughout my time at Bet Tzedek, I have dealt with many cases involving Alzheimer’s. These families are always so appreciative and I’ve been bear hugged more than a few times. I know my grandma would be proud.


My Grandma Dottie

My Grandma Dottie

Author Description

Cynthia Baseman

Cynthia Baseman is the author of 'Love, Mom: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Hope.' She writes about motherhood, the environment and education.

There are 13 comments. Add yours

  1. 13th July 2013 | Hayley Kaplan says: Reply
    That's MY nephew and I'm so proud of him. Way to go, Bobby.
  2. 13th July 2013 | Matt Steiner says: Reply
    And now I understand what conservatorship means too! Elegantly written, heartfelt, and - let's be real - this internship will definitely take you places after undergrad. Well done, BH Mom and son! ;)
  3. 12th July 2013 | Gavin says: Reply
    Excellent job!
  4. 12th July 2013 | MAMACITA says: Reply
    Bobby you are an achiever. You are a young man with a big heart. Your involvement with people of every age in the legal world and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is great. I love you.
  5. 12th July 2013 | Elaine says: Reply
    A chip off the ol' BH Mom block! A wonderfully written post by a fine young man. Bravo Bobby!!
  6. 12th July 2013 | BRETT says: Reply
    • 12th July 2013 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      Thanks @Brett for the kind words of encouragement. You are the best.
  7. 11th July 2013 | OpinionsToGo says: Reply
    A wonderful post, written by an obviously fine young man. I see a great future for him. He is already a source of pride for his family.
  8. 11th July 2013 | JoAnne Blanchard says: Reply
    Good day to to you.
  9. 11th July 2013 | cathy baker says: Reply
    So proud of you Bobby. Very well written, and interesting too.
  10. 11th July 2013 | fromdorothea says: Reply
    Way to go, Bobby! Keep up the good work.

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