Meet a Summer Intern: Matthew Rossi

September 13, 2019

2019 Summer Intern Matthew Rossi.

This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to serve as an intern for the Children’s Law Center of Connecticut (CLC). After completing my internship and working with all of the wonderful members of the staff, I am so grateful for my time spent at the CLC and all of the many things I learned over the course of my intern experience.

One of my favorite things about my time with the CLC was how much variety and diversity there was in the work we did every day. No two cases or phone calls were exactly alike. Through working with the Lawline program, which offers free family law advice, I learned a tremendous amount about custody, visitation, child support, guardianship, and adoption among many other issues. Most critically, I saw how our Lawline makes a world of difference for so many people who otherwise would not have the capability to navigate the complex legal system of the family courts, especially those seeking to protect children from situations of abuse and neglect. While many calls were about similar topics broadly, each one was about a unique family in a unique situation, and thus required a unique solution. Working with the Lawline taught me not only how to rely on the CLC’s training, but also how to think on my feet, and how to communicate complex and abstract legal processes in simply understood terms.

During my time at the CLC, I also had the opportunity to shadow several of our attorneys in court and observe their work as part of our Representation program. Much like the calls to our Lawline, every representation case is unique in its own way. Throughout the summer, I observed cases in the Superior Courts of Hartford, New Britain, and Danbury. Each court also
had its own procedures and processes. By seeing each aspect of our cases, from our initial appointment to Family Relations Office mediation to the signing of final agreements, I gained a newfound appreciation for all of the hard work that goes into these high-conflict cases, both by our attorneys and all of the other court personnel. As Guardians ad litem, the CLC’s attorneys
have the difficult job of representing the best interest of the children in their cases, and they always do so with the utmost care and dedication.

The same care and dedication are seen in all of the CLC’s programs, from the Families in Transition mediation program that works to resolve cases outside of the court system to the many trainings the CLC hosts for professionals in the field. In June, I had the opportunity to attend a Strengthening Families protective factors training with several of the other interns as well as attorneys from our organization and other firms. The training was thought-provoking and informative, and hearing the many experiences of the lawyers and mental health professionals was eye-opening.

Most of all, working at the CLC gave me so much respect for the wide network of people dedicated to improving the lives of children. From attorneys to social workers to doctors to teachers, there are so many people who are involved in this field and do not get the credit that they should for doing such crucial work. Yet I could also see how vulnerable kids can fall through the cracks, and realized it will take continuing work and support by everyone in order to strengthen this network even further. As I now enter my third year of college and consider attending law school after graduation, I will never forget the work I was able to do and the difference I was able to make as an intern with the CLC.