Summer 2013 Fellows
Maria Bruno–PA Governor’s Office of General Counsel This summer, I participated in the Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel Internship Program and was placed with the Human Relations Commission. The HRC investigates and rules on discrimination claims based on protected classes in housing, lending, employment and public accommodation. As a legal intern, I was responsible for reviewing complaints and appeals and writing legal recommendations to the Commission. I learned so much about the inner workings of a state agency. With PILF’s support, I was able to spend my summer fighting to end discrimination. Thanks PILF!
Derek Clinger–Campaign Legal Center
I worked at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, DC. The CLC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which works in the areas of campaign finance and elections, political communication and government ethics. During my internship, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of voting rights issues amidst the fallout from this summer’s Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder. I also worked on a number of campaign finance cases that spanned all levels of the federal court system, including one case in the Supreme Court, and I had the opportunity to contribute to several public comments submitted to the Federal Election Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. It was an incredibly interesting and educational experience, and it would not have been possible without the PILF’s support!
Alexis Cole–Alaska Dept. of Law, Human Services Section
This summer I worked at the civil division Alaska Department of Law (Attorney General’s office) in the human services section. In this section, we represented the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Throughout the summer, I represented Adult Protective Services, the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, the Division of Public Assistance, and the Division of Senior and Disability Services. I got hands-on litigation experience on behalf of these agencies and spent most of my time preparing for hearings through witness preparation, argument preparation and research, and drafting pleadings. As I had an intern license, I appeared in hearings as lead counsel (supervised of course) in front of magistrate judges and administrative law judges. I learned more about litigation than I could have hoped at the outset and, by the end of the summer, had argued cases from beginning to end at court. Additionally, through their highly organized intern program, I visited the Supreme Court of Alaska and met Chief Justice Fabe; toured the Alaska Crime Lab; had lunch with current judicial clerks; learned about the Iditarod from an attorney in the office who mushed it; and explored Alaska during long weekends. Thanks to PILF for helping make this amazing experience possible!
Chris Connell–Ohio Public Defender, Death Penalty & SEOLS
Thanks to the generosity of PILF and all of its donors, I had the tremendous opportunity to volunteer with two public interest organizations this summer. I worked with both Southeastern Ohio Legal Services (SEOLS) and the Ohio Public Defender’s Death Penalty Division. Serving the public interest in both criminal and civil capacities made for an exciting, fast-paced summer. At SEOLS, I worked out of the Columbus office under the Low Income Taxpayer clinic, providing me lots of opportunities to engage with clients about their cases in Federal Tax Court. I also completed an array of legal research for different SEOLS field offices throughout southeast Ohio. With the state Public Defender, I was primarily responsible for researching specific issues incorporated into the state appeals process for Death Row Inmates. I also met with a client for a review of his case status on Death Row in Chillicothe. It was fantastic to experience such a broad spectrum of legal practice the summer after my 1L year, and thanks to PILF, I was able to work for many Ohioans who would be forced to face the legal system without an attorney if it were not for the dedication of the public interest lawyers in both offices in which I interned.
Emily Dunlap–Executive Office of Immigration Review
Last summer I had the opportunity to intern with the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Cleveland, Ohio. My time with the EOIR was largely spent assisting the three Immigration Judges who are responsible for all immigration cases in the state of Ohio. Needless to say, their dockets are expansive, so I was assigned a number of diverse cases to write opinions for and several novel immigration issues to research. My most rewarding experiences were writing grants for asylum cases, as well as knowing that I was able to help alleviate the notoriously backlogged immigration system. I also enjoyed the opportunity to sit in on hearings and watch attorneys and judges in action. This internship sharpened my legal writing, provided me a greater understanding of immigration law as a whole, and honed my advocacy technique. I hope to use these skills to promote social justice and the public interest in my future career.
Michelle Eiler–Federal Public Defender, Capital Habeas Unit
This summer I worked at the Federal Public Defender’s Capital Habeas Unit in Columbus. Working closely with remarkable attorneys on the intricate issues of habeas law, I learned how to analyze complex procedural rules and efficiently communicate my ideas and understanding. I discovered the importance of a close attorney-client relationship and sifted through 30+ years of mental history and records that allowed me to really get to know my client. I learned about the competency standards for executing a prisoner, by working on a case that argued a client’s severe mental illness deems him incompetent for execution. The work is meaningful and fulfilling, and I could not have asked for a better experience after my first year of law school.
Sheena Gibbs–Legal Aid Society of Columbus
I spent my summer as a law clerk at The Legal Aid Society of Columbus. I worked on their Domestic Team. This summer, I gained valuable knowledge and had an incredible experience that I could not even begin to describe in words if I wanted to. The Domestic Team handles cases involving divorce, custody, and Civil Protection Orders for low-income clients. Many of the cases involve domestic violence. As a law clerk, my role involved a lot of client-contact. I conducted client interviews, wrote client letters, and drafted various court documents for the attorneys. I learned more this summer than I ever dreamed possible, and I had a lot of fun while I did it. The whole experience is one that I will never forget and the people I met while at the Legal Aid Society will be people I keep in contact with throughout my career.
Calland Kluchar–Federal Public Defender, Capital Habeas Unit
This summer I worked at the Capital Habeas Unit at the Federal Public Defender in Columbus. Working at the CHU exposed me to many different aspects of the law: criminal, constitutional, civil rules and complicated habeas law. I was able to work on a strong innocence claim and conduct investigations into what went on at trial. I did research, helped draft pleadings, and studied forensic methods. The CHUterns also got the opportunity to sit in on oral arguments at the Sixth Circuit and the Ohio Supreme Court. Overall, it was an amazing experience that developed my skills as a future attorney.
Latifat Osinowo–Legal Aid Society of Columbus
This past summer I worked as a Law Clerk at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. I was assigned to the Housing Unit after completing a semester with the Intake department. Over the summer, the dedicated Housing unit attorneys and paralegal taught me about the public housing system and landlord-tenant law. I was able to attend several court and administrative hearings, conduct legal research and have extensive client interaction. I looked forward to the weekly client acceptance meetings where the whole Housing team got together to discuss potential cases and strategy. Ultimately, I enjoyed helping the Housing team provide legal assistance to clients who would not be able to afford it otherwise.
Dilynn Roettker–Southeastern Ohio Legal Services
I had the opportunity to serve as a law clerk for Southeastern Ohio Legal Services with three attorneys in the program’s Newark office. Although they have limited resources and staff, over the course of the summer they dedicated their precious time to teaching me the basics in a variety of substantive areas, including public benefits, family law, housing law, and consumer law. I was able to gain a breadth of experience attending court hearings, drafting various legal documents, participating in case acceptance meetings, and conducting client interviews. The position gave me a valuable perspective as to what issues those in poverty face on a daily basis, as well as an appreciation for the importance of providing counsel to the less privileged in society.
Adam Sims–Ohio Poverty Law Center
I worked this past summer as a law clerk at the Ohio Poverty Law Center, which provides support to Ohio’s legal aid offices and coordinates statewide policy advocacy for low-income Ohioans. My research for the attorneys there introduced me to several areas of the law, including consumer issues, utilities law, health law, unemployment compensation, and domestic violence issues. In addition to my research responsibilities, the attorneys at the OPLC offered consistent exposure to what public interest legislation, lobbying, and litigation entail by welcoming clerk attendance and involvement in various legislative hearings, meetings, and pro-bono workshops. I am most grateful to the OPLC and PILF for providing summer employment that strengthened my commitment to a career in public interest law.
Priya Sonty–Children’s Defense Fund
This summer, I worked at the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio. The Children’s Defense Fund is a national non-profit organization that serves the needs of children on a national, state, and local level and acts as a comprehensive legislative advocate on their behalf. The organization strives to create a level playing field for every child. Issues of importance to CDF include poverty, abuse and neglect, health care, and education. I worked in CDF’s state office in Columbus, Ohio with Sarah Biehl, a past Moritz PILFer and the Policy Director at CDF-Ohio. I primarily worked on authoring an issue brief on Infant Mortality in Ohio – we have one of the highest rates of infant mortality in our state across the board, and through research and data analysis, determined that this has to do with the unique combination of urban and rural areas that our state has and the issues that affect both groups. I was privileged to learn more about child advocacy at CDF and am grateful for PILF’s support in pursuing this opportunity.
Erin Woods–Legal Aid Society of Columbus
This summer I had the pleasure of working as a law clerk at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) on the Public Benefits team. LASC is a non-profit firm which serves the low-income members of our community by providing much-needed legal representation. The Public Benefits team focuses on legal issues relating to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Disability, Ohio Works First benefits, Food Stamps, and unemployment compensation benefits. My responsibilities included: conducting legal research and writing, drafting legal pleadings and memoranda, engaging with clients over the phone and in person, and assisting attorneys with drafting policy recommendations to the government. The practical experience and rewarding work that I participated in at LASC exceeded my expectations for the summer. With the support of my PILF Fellowship, I was able to help the underprivileged and underserved members of our community while gaining valuable legal skills that I will draw upon throughout my professional career. Thank you!
Andrew Ashbrook–Disability Rights Ohio
This summer, I worked at Disability Rights Ohio. DRO is a nonprofit organization that provides legal representation and advocacy to individuals with disabilities in Ohio. During the internship, I worked with clients and attorneys on many different areas of disability law. I dealt with employment, voting rights, Medicaid, and accessibility. My time not only taught me a lot about this field, but also gave me the opportunity to actually help people. I came to law school with the intention of using my education to give back to the community, and my time at Disability Rights Ohio allowed me to do that and see how rewarding a career in public interest can be.
Matthew Aumann–Legal Aid Society of Columbus
This past summer I worked at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. Legal Aid handles civil issues for low-income residents of Franklin and Madison counties including but not limited to divorces, bankruptcies, foreclosures, consumer claims, tax disputes and domestic issues. In the intake department, my main role was to contact potential clients about their legal issues and either pass information on to the appropriate practice group or recommend other services available to low-income individuals. Additionally, I created a Spanish online application for services and coordinated a project with the Ohio State Department of Statistics to analyze Legal Aid’s intake procedures.
Shanell Bowden–Mediation Services
This summer I worked for Franklin County Domestic Relations and Juvenile Courts Department of Mediation Services. As a legal intern, I had the opportunity to assist with numerous tasks relating to mediation and family law. I interacted directly with many of our clients and prepared them for their mediations. I was also able to sharpen my legal writing skills by drafting pleadings, affidavits, and Agreed Entries. It was a great experience and could not have been possible without PILF!
Baylee Butler–Legal Aid Society of Columbus
This summer I had the pleasure of working as a summer clerk under the Pro Bono Coordinator of The Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC). LASC is a wonderful organization that offers legal assistance and representation to low-income residents and senior citizens of Columbus. As a member of the Pro Bono Team I had the opportunity to experience several different areas of law including housing, consumer, bankruptcy, and public benefits. The majority of my time was spent in the office serving as the first line of contact to clients in the LASC Volunteer Resource Center or meeting with client’s to explain the pro bono process. I also participated in several specific projects including the Reduced Fee and Pro Bono Bankruptcy Programs, the Bankruptcy By Pass Program, and the Senior’s Will Program. Being a member of the Pro Bono team gave me the unique opportunity to reach out to other Columbus area attorney’s in private practice to connect them with pro bono clients in need of representation. The most rewarding experience of my summer was speaking with clients and being able to provide them with some peace of mind knowing that someone was listening and willing to help.
Jackson Froliklong–U.S. Attorney’s Office, W.D. PA
This summer I worked in the violent crimes division for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania. I started the summer drafting memoranda on issues ranging from Miranda to forum selection. As my internship progressed, my responsibilities increased to composing motions for trial and even interviewing witnesses for ongoing investigations. In addition to my daily responsibilities, I often attended court proceedings to watch Assistant United States Attorneys from my office argue cases that involved everything from heroin trafficking to police corruption. It was an enriching summer characterized by brilliant colleagues and meaningful opportunities to improve my writing and analytical skills. Without PILF, I this experience would not have been possible. I am deeply thankful for the opportunity this tremendous organization provided me.
Daniel Inscore–Ohio Poverty Law Center
At the Ohio Poverty Law center there are opportunities in a myriad of both fields and formats. One of the best parts of the internship is being able to customize one’s experience. While I was there I worked on drafting administrative code, editing a brief submitted to the Supreme Court of Ohio, and a web development for a website guiding consumers through public benefits. Areas of law I worked in included public utilities, consumer law, housing, employment, and education law. I attended a negotiation at the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Service, a meeting of the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission, an unemployment compensation hearing, and eviction court. We worked on projects with legal agencies across the state. It was a very rewarding summer.
Zachary Neumann–Summit County Prosecutor’s Office
This summer I had the good fortune to work at the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office located in Akron, Ohio. I initially worked in the Domestic Violence unit where I worked closely with attorneys on preparing for trial, drafting motions, and attending the unique domestic rehabilitation court. The most rewarding aspect of the experience was my work with the appellate division of the prosecutor’s office. By the end of the summer, I wrote two briefs that were utilized and argued in front of the Ohio Ninth District Court of Appeals. The internship was educational and challenging, and offered me the unique experience to view the legal system in a multitude of areas.
Cristina Nieves–Americans for Immigrant Justice
This past summer, I worked at Americans for Immigrant Justice (AIJ) in Miami, Florida. AIJ is a non-profit law firm that helps immigrants, detained or non-detained, achieve some form of legal status in the country. AIJ has several different programs assisting immigrants in a variety of different legal problems. I worked for the LUCHA/ NOU KAB program assisting immigrants who have survived domestic violence, sexual assault or human trafficking obtain legal status. I worked closely with clients and put together VISA applications, asylum applications, consular processing and humanitarian parole. I also wrote and filed motions before the immigration court. Under the LUCHA/NOU KAB program, I also visited detention centers and assisted the attorney I was working under, Jessica Shulruff, put together ‘Know Your Rights’ presentations for the detained immigrants. Working for AIJ was an amazing and gratifying experience and I am so grateful that AIJ and PILF gave me the opportunity to dedicate my summer to helping immigrants that would otherwise lack representation in these matters.
Megan O’Dell–Legal Aid Society of Columbus
This summer I worked in the Housing Division at The Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC). At LASC, I was able to interact with impoverished individuals who were at risk of losing a basic necessity: their housing. I interviewed clients, researched the relevant areas of law, and served as a liaison to the court to best assist each client and their family in keeping their homes. This work was highly rewarding, as I was able to directly impact the lives of a number of low income individuals for the better. Without my PILF fellowship, I would not have had such a great opportunity to help those low income individuals who desperately needed the assistance of LASC.
Heather Spangler–Pickaway County Prosecutor’s Office
This summer I worked at the Pickaway County Prosecutor’s Office. I had the opportunity to work with all of the divisions in the office doing a variety of tasks. My responsibilities included researching for and writing appellate briefs dealing with both civil and criminal issues and preparing discovery. I also prepared grand jury packets and attended grand jury hearings. Additionally, I observed arraignments at the county jail, participated in interviews with police officers, and witnessed a criminal trial from beginning to end. My experiences at the prosecutor’s office not only gave me a deeper understanding of the practical side of law, specifically criminal law, but also exposed me to the realities of public interest work. I came to law school knowing that I wanted to have a career in public service, and the PILF fellowship made it possible for me to make an impact in my community after only my first year of law school.