Nick Bancroft, a rising 2L, is firmly committed to public interest law and believes it is the most important thing one can do with a legal education.
"Lawyers have a unique ability to help people," Bancroft said. "I never wanted to do anything else. When I first decided to come to law school I knew I never wanted to make a living making corporations or banks richer, I wanted to work with actual human clients and use my brain to work out their problems."
Originally from Dallas, Texas, Bancroft earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Tampa, where he majored in communications.
He applied to several law schools, but chose Miami after his first visit.
"When I got down to Miami, it wasn't a debate for me anymore," he said.
This summer, Bancroft has had the opportunity of working at the Miami-Dade Public Defender's Office with the support of the Summer Public Interest Fellows Program.
"Working in the Felony Division of the Public Defender's Office I see firsthand the justice gap that exists in this country, and I see the people who without the Public Defender's Office would literally have no legal representation," he said.
As a Summer Public Interest Fellow, he attended classes twice a week in addition to his work at the Public Defender's Office. "Going to class after a full day of work is not fun, but I still looked forward to going to class every Tuesday and Thursday to hear from the professors, the guest speakers, the other classmates, and to share my own experiences at my job," Bancroft said.
While at the PD's office, he was struck by the caseload, the swiftness of the process and the commitment of the attorneys. He appreciates the supervision and training he received and says it only strengthened his commitment to indigent defense.
When he graduates, he hopes to secure a job working as a public defender.
"I really enjoy representing the University of Miami and the HOPE office in the legal community," Bancroft said. "It is an honor and a privilege that I will cherish for the rest of my life."