Professionalism Series: Finding Vocation in the Profession

Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services attorney Anne Ross spoke to students at Charleston School of Law last week to share how she discovered a passion to serve through advocating for the rights of human trafficking victims.

Ross quickly exposed some of the stereotypes about human trafficking. “I think a lot of people envision people being brought over in chains and cargo ships and disseminated throughout different states,” she said. “Human trafficking can happen literally in your backyard. You can be trafficked right where you are.”

Ross told the Charleston Law students, “justice might not be the prosecution of the trafficker. It might be getting as far removed from the criminal part as possible or it might be getting a record expunged.”

The event was organized by the Charleston School of Law Career Services department and sponsored by the Survivor Advocacy Society, the law school’s newest student organization.

Ross said being a legal advocate for human trafficking survivors requires “a different set of legal and soft skills too. It requires passion, compassion, and a lot of patience,” she said. “I was just speaking to a student about being a legal advocate for human trafficking victims and one of the things that I’ve learned is you really must let victims define what justice means to them.”

“It was a perfect opportunity to bring the conversation of human trafficking and the legal needs of survivors to campus,” said Charleston Law student Elizabeth Sutton, who serves as the president of the organization.

The student-led organization was established this Spring “to encourage law student education in the fight against human trafficking by providing opportunities to learn about human trafficking and to create effective advocates for survivors in the Charleston community.”

Sutton, a 2L, received the Ackerman Fellowship last summer at Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services and returned this year as a recipient of the Kat Westbrook scholarship program, a memorial scholarship program for law students interested in the field. “Kat was passionate about public service, nonprofit and human trafficking,” said Sutton. “The Westbrook family funds the scholarship in honor of her.”

The Professionalism Series at the law school provides students with opportunities to learn and explore all the options for a career in the legal field. Career Services encourages its students to attend the events to find their passion and network with those practicing law in the field.

For more information on the Professionalism Series at Charleston School of Law, visit Career Services online or sign up for a future event.