Tabitha Lee Kirkwood: Focus on child and family law

Tabitha Kirkwood is planning a career in child and family law.

Tabitha Lee Kirkwood

‌Tabitha Lee Kirkwood, JD '14, is from Providence, RI. Her areas of interest are juvenile law and immigration law, and she plans a career in child and family law.

Why did you decide to study law?

When I graduated from Rhode Island College, I planned on obtaining my Masters in Social Work. I wanted to be a clinician. However, while working at St. Mary's Home for Children, I began to realize that the Court Appointed Special Advocates (attorneys for children) played a big role in advocating for the children I worked with. This influenced my decision to apply to law school. My areas of interest are juvenile law and immigration law. 

What has been your experience at UMass Law?

I was lucky to have such great law professors. Each and every one of them taught me something I can apply in the real world. I've gained the power to make a change, even if it's a small one. Also, the staff in the Law Enrollment Center and the Library were helpful. 

A major challenge for me while attending law school was losing contact with family and friends. 

Tell us about a memorable experience you've had as part of your education.

My most memorable experience was my first individual hearing (that is, a trial) in front of the Immigration Court in Boston. It was a very hard case, and we won! I realized I was meant to be an attorney during this trial. I couldn't believe how calm and comfortable I was and how ready I was to advocate for my client. 

What are your plans following graduation?

I'd like to obtain a position at either the Child and Family Law Division or the Youth Advocacy Division at the Committee for Public Counsel Services. I'd also like to continue working on immigration cases. 

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