Kelsey McCowan Heilman L’10 focuses on health care and public benefits
My name is Kelsey McCowan Heilman. I graduated in 2010 and I am a staff attorney at the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty focusing on healthcare and public benefits.
I think the most important thing that Penn did for me is provide an array of opportunities to start representing real people in real situations very early on. So, beginning with the variety of student clinics that are available. In particular, the Immigration Clinic. My first semester, I was able to successfully represent a client in obtaining a visa change of status. He was a victim of a crime and got lawful residency on the basis of helping law enforcement in the investigation. And from there I did externships for credit with Community Legal Services in the employment unit, worked with the wide variety of clients there; did public defender clinic, which was also really great and actually got me some real courtroom experience. So, I think that was the most valuable thing in terms of preparing me for the work that I do now.
I have been really pleasantly surprised by how well prepared I feel in terms of my ability to think about legal problems and I think that that also is attributable to Penn and the variety of experiences I had here and the good training I had in research in writing inside the classroom, but I think even more importantly outside of the classroom in those clinical experiences and in more informal mentorship relationships. I think I was really taught pretty well to tackle things from different angles here and that has come in very handy in dealing with legally and politically thorny issues.
Transcript edited in length.