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.