New Rutgers Law alumna Erinmarie Byrnes '23 reflects on her time as a Rutgers Law student in Camden and how she will be continuing her work from law school as a Social Justice Scholar and Veterans Advocacy Clinic student.
Erinmarie Byrnes '23
Erinmarie Byrnes '23

First, I’d like to express a huge congratulations to all of the graduates—we should all be immensely proud of ourselves! The overwhelming sentiment I feel about graduation is a sense of readiness. I am ready to put my legal education to work for others in need, and I’m ready to face the challenges that will inherently come with that. I will not know everything all the time (indeed, it will frequently feel like the opposite!) but Rutgers Law has armed me with the tools and skills I’ll need to find answers. I feel prepared in my legal knowledge and confident in my professional identity to become a fierce advocate for my clients. Thank you to all of my family, friends, teachers, students, and mentors who have helped me be ready for this moment!

After graduation and the bar exam, I will be working at the Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) as a Maida Fellow. HAP is a legal aid organization serving clients experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia, but they are expanding some services for veterans across the region. As a Maida Fellow, I will join HAP as a member of the Veterans Project and will be responsible for veteran clients’ cases in New Jersey and Delaware. These cases include VA compensation and pension claims, VA character of discharge petitions, and discharge upgrade petitions. I will work closely with case-managers from our partner veterans-services organization and meet with clients in person. I will also be working with HAP’s volunteer coordinator to develop a volunteer base of local attorneys to assist with such cases.

My ultimate career goal is to use my legal education to help those who otherwise would not have access to the legal system. I hope that this will take many different forms throughout my career! Ideally, I plan to continue working directly with clients because I find those interactions sustaining. I also hope to eventually return to the classroom. Prior to law school, I taught elementary and middle school English-Language Learners. My students knew about my goals to become a lawyer and were so supportive of me. I think of them often when I face challenges, and sometimes pull out the cards and pictures they drew for me that I saved. I also participated in the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy program where I co-taught Camden high schoolers about the Constitution, which was another particularly great experience at Rutgers. Ultimately, I would love to become a law school professor, or somehow use my legal knowledge to work with students

Erinmarie Byrnes '23

Erinmarie Byrnes

Erinmarie Byrnes graduated from the University of Rochester with a BA in Political Science, English, and a minor in Legal Studies. She was a 2017 Teach for America corps member, teaching 2nd and 6th grade English Language Learners in Nashville, Tennessee. Throughout her time at Rutgers Law, Erinmarie interned at the Homeless Advocacy Project and the Public Interest Law Center, participated in the Veterans Advocacy Clinic, and was a Marshall-Brennan Fellow.