The Child’s Advocate – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

The Child’s Advocate

“Most people have an idea of what goes on during a trial in family court, but to actually see it was an eye-opening experience,” says Allison Sperling ’10. Working alongside 10 attorneys and two social workers, Sperling is spending her summer vacation interning at the Children’s Legal Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

Through her work, she has been exposed to both the legal and social work sides of child advocacy. “I have attended intake, which is essentially a preliminary hearing in court where a petition is presented,” Sperling explains. “It is also where the attorney for the child is assigned.”

She has also had the chance to sit in on interviews among social workers, attorneys, parents and children; recently Sperling was even able to attend a custody trial.

Sperling found the internship with the assistance of Lana Cao and Brandi Ferrara at the Salisbury Center for Career Services, who set up an interview for her. Since beginning her internship, Sperling has learned that all of the previous interns at CLC have been either law or grad students.

“The most important thing is that it has already given me the confidence to take all that I have learned and experienced up until now, and apply it to real life,” says the public policy and international relations double major.

“I’ve been thinking about going to law school since I entered high school, and now I am even more confident that that is the direction that I want to head in,” Sperling says.

“If being in school for several more years means giving a voice to a child who would not otherwise be heard, then I am all for it!”

Sperling is on the William Smith swimming and diving team and serves as a Big Sister for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. She was an orientation mentor last fall and will be an Orientation Leader this fall. Sperling is also a PEP Mentor for the Office of Alcohol and Other Drugs, a WS Sidekick and is involved with Colleges Against Cancer.