University of Iowa
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Berneta L. Haynes ( Class of 2013)

Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas

Undergraduate school and major: BA in English, Psychology, and Writing from Drury University, class of 2006.

Extra-curricular or co-curricular activities in which you were involved during law school:

Black Law Student Association; Organization of Women Law Students

What did you come to law school to become:

I initially wanted to practice in the child welfare domain, in either private practice or the public sector.

Current employer:

Georgia Watch

Location:

Atlanta

Job title:

Director of Equity and Access

Previous positions:

 Associate Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center, June 2015 - October 2016

Associate Attorney, Environmental Law and Policy Center, September 2013 - May 2015

Description of what you do:

At Georgia Watch, my work as Director of Equity and Access centers on ensuring access to healthcare for all Georgians and increasing access to clean energy to improve the health and financial well-being of low-income families and communities. This includes lobbying on behalf of Georgia consumers during the legislative session, drafting legislation, representing Georgia consumers at public proceedings related to utility rates, organizing and hosting community workshops on utility bills and medical bills, drafting consumer-facing resources to help people in need of assistance with their bills, organizing and leading local or state coalitions in the energy and healthcare spaces, and even managing our organization's social media and website. It's an a la carte position.

Your favorite part of your job:

I enjoy participating in community workshops and giving presentations to community members. That is my favorite part of the job, second only to managing the website and social media. These two things take me out of the legal aspects of my work and provide a much-needed outlet for my creative and outgoing side.

Your interests outside of work:

Fiction writing and graphic design. I have published a novel (titled Landrien Moriset), and I'm working on finishing the revision of a two-part sci-fi series right now. I also manage a writer-oriented website (Waking Writer), for which I often interview writers and spotlight their work.

What do you wish your 1L/2L/3L self knew about the job search:

1) Staying flexible is the key to success. 2) You have to systematically prepare yourself for opportunities because you never know when one will land at your doorstep.

What advice do you have for success in summer positions:

Focus on establishing good relationships with your supervisors and colleagues. They will be instrumental when you need references later. In addition, be sure to get a good writing sample or two during the course of your summer internships. Your writing sample(s) may be the most important part of an entry-level attorney's application.