News & Events
Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) Fellowship Recipients, Summer 2007
April 27, 2007
Contact: Barbara Peck, (614) 292-0283
This summer 18 Moritz first and second year law students will be working in public sector jobs in part thanks to fellowships awarded by the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF). These fellowships are for between $500 to $3500 and help defray living expenses for students spending the summer in what are often low-paying or non paying positions that serve underrepresented and underprivileged populations. In addition, for the first time both the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation and Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP funded full PILF fellowships for deserving students.
Below is a description of the 2007 PILF Fellowship Recipients and their respective summer positions:
Melissa Benton, 1L, will be interning this summer in the Criminal Division of the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office in Toledo, OH. As a legal intern, Melissa will be assisting trial attorneys with case preparation, legal research, drafting of motions, and assisting with discovery and witness interviews.
Sara Bergene, 2L, will be serving as a summer intern at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), a program of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights based in Chicago, IL. In addition to advocating for legislative improvements to the immigration law system, NIJC is a non-profit organization providing quality, low-cost legal services to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in the Midwest. Through its dedicated team of staff attorneys, legal workers, and a network of over 750 pro bono attorneys, NIJC serves over 8,000 clients annually. Sarah will be supporting staff attorneys to prepare for immigration hearings, in addition to conducting legal research, and drafting motions and briefs. For Sara, whose ultimate career goal is to practice public interest immigration and refugee law, this summer internship will be a dream come true.
Rachel Burlage, 1L, will be working as a law clerk this summer at Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA), a non-profit provider of legal services founded by the Ohio State Bar Association in 1966. Rachel will be assisting low-income residents with a variety of legal issues as an “intake specialist” and legal researcher.
Rachel Chodera, 2L, will be working as a legal intern at FairVote, a non-partisan, non-profit electoral reform organization in Washington DC. FairVote is dedicated to empowering disenfranchised groups through electoral systems changes and right to vote initiatives. Rachel will be assisting with research and writing of amicus briefs in addition to providing analysis of past and pending election legislation.
Kathleen Clyde, 2L, the 2007 Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP PILF Fellow, will be working as a law clerk this summer at the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law in New York City. Her placement is with the Voting Rights and Elections section. She will assist the Brennan Center staff in research, litigation, legislative drafting and counseling, and public education on a wide range of issues including improving election systems nationally and ensuring access to elections for all citizens. Kathleen hopes to pursue a career in election law.
Lauren Fontana, 2L, will be working as a public interest legal intern at the Center’s Legal Initiative’s Project, (CLIP), in Denver, CO. Founded in 1992, CLIP is one of the country’s oldest Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender support services centers. CLIP engages in impact litigation and legal services for the most disadvantaged members of the LGBT Community in Denver, CO. Lauren’s duties this summer at CLIP will primarily consist of legal research for current and prospective cases. Lauren will also be assisting with direct legal services through CLIP’s legal hotline. Lauren, who plans to become a legal advocate for the LGBT Community after graduation, considers her summer internship as an important step toward realizing her goal.
Dylan Griffiths, 1L, will be serving as a summer intern at the Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus. The Federal Public Defender provides legal services and representation for indigent criminal defendants. Dylan will be performing a variety of legal duties including preparing trial, hearing, and appeal materials. Dylan will also assist with legal research and memo drafting in addition to accompanying counsel on client visits to local jails for consultation.
Katie Jory, 1L, will be working as a law clerk for Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA), at its state support center, working to prevent and solve legal problems that affect Ohioans living in poverty. Katie will also be assisting clients with tax assistance.
Shannon Karla, 2L, will be interning this summer for the Code Enforcement Department of the City of Cleveland’s Department of Law. Shannon’s duties will include legal research and writing. In addition, with her Legal Intern Certificate from the Supreme Court of Ohio, Shannon will have the opportunity to appear in court, representing Cleveland’s residents by helping to enforce fire, health, zoning, and housing codes.
Katherine Lengieza, 2L, who plans to pursue a career in criminal law after graduation, will be working as a legal intern in the Criminal Enforcement Division at the Office of the Attorney General of Texas in Austin. Katherine will be interning with an experienced Assistant Attorney General, assisting with legal research, memoranda drafting, and trial preparation.
Rachel Laing, 1L, will be clerking at Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS). CRIS is the only non-profit organization in Central Ohio that provides immigration related legal services and representation. Rachel will be assisting with on-site client intakes, processing for green cards and naturalization, in addition to legal research and writing. Rachel is interested in pursuing immigration law after graduation.
Renato Manay, 1L, will be serving as a summer legal intern at the Office of the Public Defender in San Francisco, CA. The mission of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office is to provide vigorous, effective, and ethical legal representation to persons who are accused of crime and cannot afford to hire an attorney. As a summer intern, Renato will be assisting an experienced attorney with in and out-of-custody client interviews, legal research, and writing projects, trial preparation and assisting at trials and hearings.
Julie McDermott, 1L, will be working as a law clerk for Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA), helping low-income clients at both the state support center in Columbus and the direct services program in southeast Ohio.
Adrienne Montalvo, 2L, will be working as a legal intern at the National Immigration Project in Boston, MA. For over three decades, the National Immigration Project has been protecting the rights of non-citizens facing the greatest barriers to justice. The National Immigration Project is comprised of immigration attorneys, public defenders, legal workers, grassroots advocates, and others working to defend immigrant rights through the promotion of social justice and equal treatment of immigrants and non-citizens including crime victims, detainees, and individuals with HIV. As a legal intern, Adrienne will be supporting staff attorneys with legal research and writing.
Ryan Muennich, 2L, will be clerking at Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS). CRIS is the only non-profit organization in the Columbus area that provides immigration related legal services and representation. Ryan will be assisting with on-site client intakes, processing for naturalization.
Caitlin O’Donnel, 2L, will be serving as a summer intern at the Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus. The Federal Public Defender provides legal services and representation for indigent criminal defendants. Caitlin will be performing a variety of duties including preparing trial, hearing, and appeals materials. Caitlin will also assist with legal research and memo drafting in addition to accompanying counsel on client visits to local jails for consultation.
Laura Sminchak, 2L, will be working this summer at the Equal Justice Foundation (EJF), a non-profit law firm in Columbus, OH. EJF’s primary mission is the direct representation of individuals and organizations in impact litigation or cases raising issues of statewide significance for low-income persons. As a summer law clerk, Laura will be assisting staff attorneys with research and drafting briefs and pleadings. Laura will be accompanying attorneys at hearings and depositions. After graduation, Laura plans a career in anti-poverty advocacy and litigation.
Sarah J. Staley, 1L, the 2007 Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation PILF Fellow, will be working as a summer law clerk at the Equal Justice Foundation (EJF), a non-profit law firm in Columbus, OH. EJF’s primary mission is the direct representation of individuals and organizations in impact litigation or cases raising issues of statewide significance for low-income persons. Since 1992, EJF has focused on key impact areas including human services, consumer protection, fair housing, predatory lending, discrimination, disability and education rights. During the summer, Sarah’s primary responsibilities will include conducting legal research, drafting legal memoranda, and serving as an intake specialist for EJF’s clients.