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The division of labor within the office is striking. Whether a paralegal is specialized in doing intakes or an attorney specializes in changes of venues, everybody at Catholic Charities Legal Services has a clearly defined role and they know it well. As an intern entering this machine, my top priority has been to make sure that I wasn’t a burden – that I didn’t hinder the system from operating at its maximum efficiency. Originally I was delegated to one attorney, greasing the gears of one cog in the system, but the DukeEngage interns have become assets to the entire office. Nico and Jeremy, our Spanish-speakers, would constantly be whisked away to help interpret for our non-Spanish speaking attorneys, filling a specific need in the office. They had found their niche. I, on the other hand, was still in limbo. Unlike everybody else in the office, I had yet to find my niche.

On my first day, I did a variety of translations from French to English for my boss, then it was weeks before I was asked to do another translation. This time, it was a simple straightforward Haitian birth certificate, but word spread quickly around the office that I speak French. The flood gates had opened. Soon I was inundated with so many birth, death, and marriage certificates that I had boiled the translations down to a science. What might be a relatively mundane job for me, was vital to the case of a client. I had finally found my individual role in the system. I had found my niche.