Summer 2015 Blog Posts

Amy Meiburg, 3L
Securities & Exchange Commission
Denver, Colorado


Working for the SEC made me change my opinion about working in public interest.  This summer I not only learned more about privilege than I had ever expected to, but I also learned that working in public interest is more than just helping low income clients.  

My work at the SEC helped my supervising attorneys seek reparations for the fraudulent or illegal acts of various culprits.  My experience really helped me to understand that the work of that the SEC allows the public a sense of security.  Further, the SEC works to regulate markets that greatly influence our economy, and in that way, the SEC serves individuals of all incomes.


Rosemary E. Hambright, 3L
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, D.C.
 
I spent my summer protecting human health and environmental quality. The office where I worked, the Air Enforcement Division of the Office of Civil Enforcement at the EPA, enforces the Clean Air Act and related regulations as they apply to mobile sources of pollution, such as cars and bulldozers. Mobile sources of air pollution are, in the aggregate, significant contributors to air pollution in the United States. In addition, my EPA mentor from the summer leads the Marine Program, which, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, enforces the fuels requirements in the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS). APPS, the domestic legislative implementation of the international treaty MARPOL Annex VI, requires ships within 200 nautical miles of the U.S. coast to use low-sulfur fuel. Due to the large amount of fuel that ships consume, compliance with APPS can dramatically increase air quality and human health not only in America's coastal cities, but also further inland.

Brian Cruikshank, 3L
National Conference of State Legislatures
Denver, Colorado

I worked with the National Conference of State Legislatures to update their campaign finance database. I helped lead discussions with state legislatures about trends in campaign finance legislation, and briefed them on Supreme Court decisions regulating campaign finance.

The PSF stipend allowed me to live in Denver which was an absolutely fantastic experience. It made me realize that it is possible to pursue opportunities in fields I desire, rather than just chasing money.

Darren Ziegler, 3L
United States Attorney's Office - Eastern District of Virginia (Newport News Division)
Newport News, VA
 
Working at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newport News was a fantastic summer experience.  The office is smaller than some of it's counterparts in the district, and as a result, I really got to know some of the attorneys and support staff there very well.  It was wonderful to see how well the entire office got along and was able to work together, especially considering the variety of personalities there.

As for my legal experience, it was second to none.  I got to take part in criminal cases ranging in subject matter from white collar offenses to drugs and gun offenses.  I also met and worked with agents from a number of federal and state agencies.  Ultimately, I even had the opportunity to handle an entire suppression motion, from research and writing the brief to arguing the motion, directing and cross-examining witnesses in federal court.  I had a wonderful time and learned a tremendous amount.
 
Parker Tobin, 3L
Charlotte Mecklenburg District Attorney's Office
Charlotte, NC
 
This summer, I had the opportunity to extensively use my 3L practice certificate. I was placed in the office's misdemeanor team. This entailed going to court everyday and personally trying cases. Over the course of the summer, I personally tried fifteen bench trials. These cases varied from routine traffic matters to charges including simple assault, trespassing, and assault with a deadly weapon. Additionally, I had the opportunity to prep hundreds of cases throughout the summer. Speaking with officers, witnesses, and victims on a daily basis improved my communication abilities, my trial skills, and gave me a passion to serve my community through my career. I walked away from the summer knowing that I want to practice in a career where I can have the opportunity to litigate while helping others.
 
Chris Generous, 3L
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, D.C.
 
This summer, I clerked at the Headquarters of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) in Washington, DC. In pursuing EPA’s mission of protecting public health and the environment, OECA enforces environmental regulations. As a law clerk, my assignments included working drafting guidance and memoranda, evaluating proposed appropriations bills and corporate self-disclosures, and developing briefing and case materials. I saw firsthand interagency efforts involving EPA and Department of Justice attorneys and technical personnel. To not miss the forest for the trees, OECA’s honors law clerk program also exposed me to the wide array of environmental laws and regulatory programs—from RCRA (solid waste) and FIFRA (pesticides) to CWA (air) and CAA (water)—through seminars and outreach opportunities.
My clerkship provided me with invaluable practical experience while serving the public and making lasting friendships. As a Public Service Fund (PSF) committee chair and PSF stipend recipient, I am extremely grateful for PSF’s role in making my clerkship at the EPA an unfettered success.
 
Alexander Kalyniuk, 2L
Legal Council for Health Justice (formerly known as the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago)
Chicago, Illinois
 
During my 1L summer I had the opportunity to work in my hometown of Chicago at AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, a public interest health care nonprofit located in the heart of the Loop. My main duties included assisting attorneys in highly-publicized impact litigation in federal court which concerned discriminatory health practices that adversely affected severely disabled children from low-income families. Over the course of the summer, I attended status hearings, joined co-counsel phone calls, and legal theory brainstorming sessions with attorneys from across Illinois and even Washington D.C. My responsibilities on the cases included statutory, regulatory, and case law research on issues in administrative, civil rights, federal civil procedure, constitutional, evidence, disability, and health law.  Additionally, I helped draft court briefs, research memorandums, FOIA requests, discovery materials, and proposed settlement documents. 

I would have never been able to take on this opportunity had it not been for PSF and fellowship funding. I made lifelong contacts in Chicago and my supervising attorneys were so impressed with my work products and attitude that they requested I continue to work on class action cases as a remote extern for the Fall 2016 semester. With prior approval from Dean Kaplan, I am remotely externing with that same organization and doing my part to ensure disabled children in my hometown receive the health benefits they are entitled to receive.
 
Parisa Tabassian, 3L
U.S. Attorney's Office
Norfolk, VA
 
Working at the U.S. Attorney's Office, Civil Division was the best professional experience of my life to date. I got to work on a variety of practice areas and with different attorneys, allowing me to learn different styles and techniques while gaining useful hands on practical experience. I researched and wrote memoranda on questions pertaining to employment discrimination, civil restitution, the parol evidence rule, and medical malpractice. I also researched and wrote sections of motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, replies, and responses pertaining to employment discrimination, immigration, and FOIA exemption matters. Furthermore, I generally edited attorneys’ written products before filing with the Norfolk Federal District Court. I also had the option to attend any meetings or hearings I found of interest, so I went to some naturalization ceremonies, depositions, and motions hearings. The office was so kind and welcoming and made every effort to satisfy all of my professional goals. The attorneys set up some networking and social events for interns as well. I feel that I've met some mentors that I will want to remain in contact with for the rest of my legal career. I left my internship even more inspired to work in civil law in the public service sector.
 
Christina Wentworth, 2L
Council for Children's Rights
Charlotte, North Carolina
 
During my last week as an intern at the Council for Children’s Rights, my whole internship experience really came full circle in a meeting I attended with my supervisor. I had started my summer by researching the special education laws and policies that affected one of our clients, John*, and I ended my summer at a meeting with the school district that was scheduled to address John’s needs.
 
In the months prior to this meeting, the school district had consistently ignored or denied John’s parents’ requests for meetings and had failed to provide a conclusion regarding our client’s eligibility for an additional disability category for special education services. Despite his parents’ persistent efforts to ensure that he received an appropriate placement at the beginning of the school year, it was not until the end of July that the school finally agreed to meet. After an entire afternoon of contentious debate regarding placement and our client’s eligibility for an additional disability category, the meeting ended in just enough consensus that the parents could move forward with an independent evaluation.
 
At the end of the meeting, I spoke with one of the school district’s special education compliance coordinators. She had been working with the school district for over three decades and seemed very knowledgeable about special education law. When I asked her what she likes most about her work, she told me that she enjoys her job in part because “there are rules, and everything is black and white.”
 
I was incredulous. For a person who had been working with youth for 37 years, this seemed like a terribly naïve thing to say. If nothing else, that day’s three-hour meeting should have proven that special education—and the law in general—is anything but black and white. Sure, you can have rules. You can put policies in place. But there is no justice in pretending that each child does not need to be evaluated based on his or her particular circumstances and needs. Children, more so than any other group, need to be recognized as individuals and appreciated for their unique qualities.
 
The Council for Children’s Rights provides advocacy in several areas besides special education, but this client’s case, to me, is the epitome of why agencies like CFCR are so important. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from such knowledgeable and passionate individuals at CFCR. Thanks, PSF, for allowing me to contribute to an organization that has such a significant impact on the community!

 *Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality
 
Josh Rice, 3L
Hollywood City Attorney
Hollywood, Florida
 
In the summer of 2015, I worked for the City of Hollywood. Having a city as your client is an interesting experience; instead of representing one person, or one cause, you're representing everybody, and every cause. You handle contract disputes, litigation, and work with more aspects of law than you've learned in school.

In a few ways, this can be intimidating, but I found the newness of my work exciting. My biggest concern with working is being interested in my work. At the City, I could walk from the property lawyer to the municipal prosecutor and switch cases and legal fields instantly. I ended up spending a lot of time with the municipal prosecutor, and subsequently spent a lot of the week in court. Overall, I had a well-rounded experience, and honed a lot of my legal skills.
 
Eric Loose, 3L
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Washington, D.C.
 
For my summer in-between 2L and 3L year, I worked at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Office of Federal Operations in Washington, D.C. Overall, it was a formative experience that allowed me to hone a number of skills that I hope to use frequently in my future career. In this position, I reviewed case files and then wrote decisions that were then passed up the chain of command. At each level, I was offered valuable critiques and feedback from my supervisors, who were able to comment both on my writing progress and my decision-making skills. The experience provided me both valuable insight into the federal government atmosphere in D.C. as well as substantive experience with employment discrimination law. Altogether, I would recommend this experience to anybody looking for experience with employment discrimination law or with an interest in civil service and the federal government.
 
Kristel Tupja, 2L
FAIR Girls
Washington, D.C.
 
My idea of human-trafficking was limited to how it is portrayed by Hollywood (eastern Europe, drugs, shackles and chains, etc.) My experience with FAIR Girls this past summer completely dispelled any preconceived notions that I may have had. Human trafficking is a prevalent domestic issue, disguised as prostitution. The clients I worked with at FAIR Girls varied in age, from 17 to 24. However, a great deal of these girls had much lower mental capacities. They were likely living in poverty, had been the victims of abuse (sexual, physical and mental), and had been tricked by promises of a better life into "the life." "The life" is a commonly used term to describe commercial sex, or the exchange of sexual acts for anything of material value.

My summer experience involved a lot of direct services with girls who had been, or were currently in "the life." We worked with them to obtain basic needs, such as housing or employment. We went to court with them for support, where they were berated and looked down upon as "hookers" by misinformed judges. Most importantly, we empowered them to see their self-worth and full potential. It was an experience I would not change for the world and something I want to continue to work on pro-bono. Thank you for being a part of this experience, PSF!


Dee Bogert, 2L
The Office of the Federal Public Defender
Norfolk, Virginia
 
This past summer I had the opportunity to work at the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Norfolk. Coincidentally, the other 3 interns working there that summer were also from William and Mary. I found everyone in the office was very welcoming, and there was always work to be done. A large part of the summer was spent working on DR1 cases, in order to get prior client's sentences reduced due to a change in the Sentencing Guidelines for drug quantities. Despite the repetitive nature of the work, it was very fulfilling as we were having a very real impact on people's lives. One motion I drafted asked for a five year reduction to an individual's sentence based on the new calculations of the guidelines. Other motions only amounted to a few months reduction, but to our clients, every day counts.

Aside from working through DR1 cases, I also got to spend time in court and got to witness a trial over the summer. There was also a lot of research to do, and discovery material to comb through. At the conclusion of my internship, I was asked to come back the following summer, and was also able to extern there during my Fall (and potentially Spring) semester. All in all the work was very rewarding, and also allowed me to become familiarized with the practical application of the law.
 
Abby Snider, 3L
Children’s Law Center
Los Angeles, California
 
My summer as a law clerk at the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles was a whirlwind experience. Los Angeles County appoints a CLC attorney to represent every child in the county’s abuse and neglect proceedings. As a law clerk, I assisted one attorney all summer. I did not have a typical day – instead each day presented new challenges and unique clients. My attorney and I would begin each morning prepping the day’s cases, and then would head down to court to talk with our clients and ensure their voices were heard before the judge. Our days could be relatively easy, with a few “check-up” hearings to ensure that a child was safe at home with her parents and her parents were complying with court-imposed services. Most of the time, however, we stayed in court the majority of the day, busy with trials to adjudicate the abuse and neglect charges against parents, or in detention hearings for the initial court determination of whether a child was safe in his home. My job was to interview the clients to find out whether the abuse and neglect charges were true and find out what they needed from the court, and to make sure my attorney was prepped for her countless appearances before our judge. After court, we prepared for the next day, caught up on piles of paperwork necessary to keep track of 100+ cases each attorney possesses, and called social workers, therapists, public defenders, and caretakers to ensure our clients did not get lost in the system.

I learned so much this summer. One of the most useful things I learned was how to speak with clients, as young as four and old as twenty, about extremely sensitive issues ranging from sexual abuse to severe neglect. I also became comfortable in the courtroom, speaking to the judge, negotiating with opposing attorneys, and effectively representing a client. I faced a sharp learning curve this summer, but at the end of the day, when I was able to bond with a client or see a client return to her parents, there is no doubt that my experience was invaluable.

Hannah Needleman, 3L
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Washington, D.C.

I spent my summer as a law clerk at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington, DC. I worked in the Special Litigation and Projects Division of the EPA’s Office of Civil Enforcement. Much of my work there entailed performing legal research and writing on environmental regulations. Additionally, I assisted in Audit Policy enforcement. Although the enforcement cases I worked on were confidential, the enforcement actions were integral to stopping harm to human health and the environment and preventing future harm.

This summer would not have been possible without the Public Service Fund. The summer stipend I received allowed me to pursue work in public service and the federal government – work I could not have afforded to do otherwise. Now, more than ever, I am certain that career in public service is for me.

Michael Wyatt, 3L
Mississippi Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel

Jackson, Mississippi

My work doing capital defense in Mississippi has meant more to me than anything else I've done in law school. That summer alone has made law school worth it.

Kathryn Ashley, 3L
U.S. Embassy

Madrid, Spain

I spent my summer in Madrid, Spain, working in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy. Working as an intern in the embassy gave me a sneak peek into the life of a foreign service officer. I also got to learn how our embassies function abroad. I learned about the various sections within the embassy and the type of work that they do. In my position in the political section I had the opportunity to write daily reports on key political issues in Spain and send them to Washington D.C. for review. I was able to attend various multicultural events at other embassies in Madrid. I helped draft letters, memos, and other government documents. They definitely utilize the interns they receive and give them meaningful work to do; I really felt like the work I did was making a difference. Seeing how each section of the embassy serves our purposes abroad has inspired me to pursue a job working with the U.S. Embassy in Madrid in some capacity.

K.Ashley

Courtney Hagge, 3L
United States Attorney’s Office
Richmond, Virginia
 
This summer was hands-down the best experience of my law school career. I built lasting relationships with incredible mentors, improved my litigation and writing skills, and actually had fun! I was assigned to the Criminal Division, and the people I worked with were nothing short of incredible. Each attorney was more than happy to answer my questions, give me advice about any subject, and, most importantly, made me feel as though I was a valued part of the office, rather than just an intern.

The Richmond office really has an amazing "Intern Academy" program. At the beginning of the summer we participated in a Moot Court exercise, complete with mock witness interviews and a mini suppression motion. We then received valuable feedback from the AUSA's after judging our performance. We also went on educational field trips to the local prison, the medical examiner's lab, and the morgue. Our supervisors even made time for fun, including two awesome shooting trips (one with the FBI and another with the ATF); a river rafting excursion; and several engaging and entertaining lunches with incredible attorneys, including the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

I sincerely enjoyed every single day, and every project that I handled. My favorite writing assignment was a lengthy brief responding to a motion to suppress. I was able to complete all of the research, draft the brief from start to finish, and ultimately file it. Though I enjoy writing very much, I especially enjoyed appearing in federal magistrate court, where I autonomously handled cases on the ticket docket. The supervising attorney allowed me to discern the value of many cases on my own, weighing any aggravating or mitigating factors after speaking with the officer and the defendant. Ultimately, I would advise the judge of the Government's recommendation for each case I handled. I also appeared in federal district court for initial appearances, arraignments, violations of supervised release, and detention hearings. It was great to utilize my third year practice certificate, while learning through hands-on experience how our criminal justice system works.

After my summer with the USAO, I am committed to becoming a prosecutor, and I know that this experience was a great boost in the right direction.
 
Samara Corbin, 2L
Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia: Williamsburg Annex
Williamsburg, Virginia
 
At Legal Aid Williamsburg, I was able to refine a skill which is integral to public service: empatehic, active listening. One of my most important duties included conducting client interviews to understand and sift through the details initially given by the clients. I needed to ascertain what facts were relevant to any legal arguments we were making. At Legal Aid, we did our client interviews by phone and when I first started working, I was reluctant to speak with clients over the phone because I was unsure of how to lead the conversations. I also did not know what to say in response to when they might become emotional or upset. I learned, as I talked to them, that a good way to handle the conversation was to do more listening than talking so that I could get as much relevant information from the clients as possible. An example of this was how I managed communications with more demanding clients.

At one point in the summer, we received a new case for which the interns needed to interview the client, but none of the other interns wanted to do so seeing as the client was known to be difficult. So, I volunteered to talk to the client. As we spoke, I found that simply allowing the client to speak and providing the client with an empathetic person to speak to allowed the client to feel comfortable enough to share information that proved useful in our work on the case. Sometimes clients would even inform me of critical information which we would have had no idea about and would not have known to ask about. Thus, active listening was a portal through which I contributed to the comfort of the clients as well as to the quality of my office’s work. Further, it was through my constant interaction with clients that I cemented my interest in public service because I learned firsthand the plight of some people, and that I have the capability to help them.


Sami Alsawaf, 2L
National Women's Law Center
Washington, DC
 
My summer at the National Women’s Law Center was a wonderful experience. I had the opportunity to work with talented and smart women who were truly passionate about their work, and I was also able to work in different aspects of healthcare law to learn more about the healthcare system as a whole. On my first day, a new Medicaid managed care rule was proposed, and I had the opportunity to write the first draft of a piece of the comments we would submit. Before this, I did not know much about managed care or public comments, so it was a great learning experience for me!
Also, throughout the summer I was able to write various blog posts about fun topics, including the impact of the King v. Burwell case, the insane amount of times Congress has tried to defund or repeal the Affordable Care Act, and the wonderful things Planned Parenthood does for millions of women across the summer. These posts were more informal, and I was able to make jokes or point out flaws in opponents’ arguments, and it was also nice to write informational pieces for the general public to understand without being overloaded with legal jargon.


Emily Sterling, 2L
Texas Attorney General's Office, Criminal Prosecutions Division
Austin, Texas      
 
This past summer, I interned with the Texas Office of the Attorney General, Criminal Prosecution Division where I worked with a variety of prosecutors, assisting with both legal and investigative research as they built their respective cases. From reviewing jail phone calls to analyzing case law, I observed a variety of cases in a variety of stages: from those just assigned to those actively in trial. I further helped with legislative updates, pulling new and revised statutes for presentation to law enforcement members and attended trainings on human trafficking. From my 1L summer, I found an area in law that fascinated and challenged, and one where I could readily see myself making a career.
 
Sarah Wiley, 3L
Summit County Prosecutor's Office, Juvenile Division
Akron, Ohio
 
I had an amazing summer working for a county prosecutor's office. The chance to use my 3L practice certificate and appear in court and actually litigate cases on my own was amazing, and it was wonderful working with a group of dedicated public servants to improve our community. Working in the juvenile division of the prosecutor's office, we were able to focus a great deal on the rehabilitative functions of our justice system, and work to get our defendants on the right track, rather than simply focusing on punishment. It was a great experience!
 
Eric Speer, 3L
Norfolk Public Defender
Norfolk, Virginia
 
I had an excellent experience working for the Norfolk Public Defender this summer. It solidified my desire to work in indigent criminal defense and public interest law. I continue to work as an extern at the office this fall.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in criminal defense, I would highly recommend an internship at the Norfolk Public Defender. The attorneys at the office really appreciate student interns and the assistance they provide. It's an amazing feeling to see the research you did win a case. Interns are taken to court frequently, and if you have a third-year practice certificate, like I did, you will be given actual cases to represent. This litigation experience has been invaluable.
 
Sarah Deuitch, 3L
USAF JAG
Vandenberg AFB
 
This summer was a really great opportunity for me. I have been wanting to join the Air Force and be a member of the AF JAG Corps for awhile, but I wanted to make sure that I liked the actual 7:30-4:30 Monday to Friday aspects of it. A semester-long externship did not give me that vision, but this summer did. I was truly immersed in the Air Force JAG Community and had the chance to explore all the different aspects of law that JAG officers practice. One of the most exciting things I got to do was help with three courts martial in the month of June. They were all connected crimes and accused, so it was sometimes confusing and sometimes we got walled off from the other cases - but a fascinating "boots on the ground" experience.
 
Elizabeth Larner, 3L
Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office
Charlotte, North Carolina
 
I spent the summer interning at the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, North Carolina. This was by far the best legal experience I have had since starting law school. I worked on the Crimes Against Persons – Child Abuse/Sex Crimes Team for the summer, with a brief stint on the Misdemeanor Team. I was able to learn so much about what goes on at a district attorney’s office, and having my third-year practice certificate allowed me to be even more involved, including getting to try a misdemeanor case and participate in court in bond hearings and arraignments.

My daily assignments included: prepping and presenting cases at bond hearings and arraignments, researching various legal issues; reviewing case files to determine appropriate plea offers, drafting responses to defendants’ motions, interviewing police officers and witnesses in preparation for trial, attending witness and victim interviews, reviewing taped witness, victim, and defendant interviews and jail calls, observing trial, and attending team meetings.

In addition to the daily assignments, the two Assistant District Attorneys who were in charge of the summer intern program also organized several activities outside of the office, including observing a K9 simulation; touring the local jail, the Real-Time Crime Center, and the forensic lab; and trying our hand at the local firearms range.

Overall, I had a wonderful experience learning the ins and outs of working at the District Attorney’s Office, met some great people and learned so much more than I could have hoped.
 
Jennifer West, 2L
Cru
Fort Collins, Colorado
 
My experience with Cru was incredible. Cru is a Christian international non-profit organization. Although its biggest focus is on campus ministry around the world, Cru also has branches focused on family, military, ethnic, inner city and humanitarian outreaches. It is established in all fifty states and almost every country around the world. As a result, Cru is a large, complex non-profit organization make up of numerous LLCs and corporations.

In the General Counsel's Office, I worked on a wide variety of projects that reached many branches of this organization. I red-lined contracts for real estate and services, filed copyright applications, researched employment law issues, and wrote a number of memoranda on certain state and federal taxation issues, how to form a charitable entity in Denmark, and a survey of world copyright registration laws.
 
Caroline Caldwell, 3L
Children's Law Center
Los Angeles, California
 
The funds I received from the Public Service Fund allowed me to work at the Children’s Law Center in Los Angeles, California. The Children’s Law Center represents children in dependency court when the Department of Child and Family Services becomes involved with their families. The attorneys at the Children’s Law Center ensure that the children’s best interests and wishes are represented during the proceedings. This internship showed me a side of the law I knew nothing about and helped me discover that it was what I wanted to do when I finished law school.
At my internship, I interacted with children on a daily basis and spent 90% of my day in court with my assigned attorney. I received training in many issues regarding children’s law and how to effectively interview children and used these skills on a regular basis. I also performed legal research, interviewed children, analyzed claims and with some clients worked more as a mentor or trusted adult by checking in with them and ensuring that their home lives were improving through our involvement. My internship with the Children’s Law Center this summer strengthened my desire to work in public interest and allowed me to work with a population that would normally not have access to an attorney.


Kathleen Zaratzian, 3L
California Attorney General, Natural Resources Division
San Francisco, California
 
As a Natural Resources Law Clerk at the California Attorney General, I helped represent California environmental agencies in litigation. Because of the severity of the California drought, some of the most interesting cases I participated in involved irrigation district challenges to curtailment actions brought by the California Water Resources Control Board.

This experience reinforced my passion for working in public interest law after graduation. I particularly enjoyed working in government environmental regulation enforcement because it balanced the public interest in environmental conservation and resource protection with other public interests such as transportation and development. For example, one of the projects that I worked on was an amicus brief on the impacts of a high speed rail project that had to reconcile and unify the viewpoints and goals of multiple state agencies in one brief.
 
Krishna Patel, 3L
Safe Horizon
Brooklyn, New York
 
I had a wonderful experience working for Safe Horizon, one of the largest victim service providers in the U.S. I was part of the Anti-Trafficking project, where I assisted international victims of human trafficking obtain immigration relief. I learned a lot about the immigration system and was able to apply the laws to aid trafficking survivors. My supervising attorneys were always willing to provide valuable feedback and mentoring while also confidently assigning me independent work like interviewing clients and drafting their T-visa applications. Aside from working, my summer experience living in New York was extremely memorable from trying tasty treats at the international night farmer's market to watching Shakespeare in the Park. I am grateful for PSF and scholarship funding that made my experience possible.
 
Bryony Coiner, 3L
Public Counsel
Los Angeles, California
 
This summer, I served as a Summer Law Clerk with the Consumer Law Project at Public Counsel Law Center in Los Angeles, California. Within the Consumer Law Project, attorneys and law clerks help indigent citizens with legal issues such as fraud, unfair business practices, illegal foreclosures and benefits work. Because the city of Los Angeles has an especially substantial income disparity issue, working with finacial-related problems creates a huge ameliorative effect on the community.

As a Law Clerk, I was able to gain invaluable legal work experience. In addition to improving my client communication and legal research and writing skills, I had some interesting and unique work experiences. For example, I was able to attend a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing for a case initiated at Public Counsel. I also formed a plain-language legal analysis for claims that a client was arguing pro se, draft form interrogatory responses on a tight deadline, and help a woman suffering from severe dementia avoid being fraudulently evicted from her own home.

Of course at the heart of my summer 2015 work experience were all the wonderful, dedicated, kind, and intelligent individuals you tend to meet at legal aid centers. My clerkship provided me legal knowledge, interpersonal communication experience, mentors, references, and life-long friendships.


Mollie Topic, 3L
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC
 
I spent my summer working in the Office of the General Counsel at the Department of Homeland Security. I was with the National Protection & Programs Legal Division, which focuses on infrastructure protection, cybersecurity, and biometrics. While there, I worked primarily on issues related to cybersecurity and law enforcement.

As part of the internship program, I had the opportunity to go on "field trips" to the different components. We went to places such as the TSA, a UCIS forensics lab, and a Coast Guard base. My favorite trip was to the U.S. Secret Service, where I got to see a defensive driving demonstration, meet law enforcement dogs, and go to the firearm library.
 
Chantelle Williams, 2L
New York State Office of the Attorney General
Brooklyn, New York
 
This summer, I had the opportunity to work at the New York State Office of the Attorney General within the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection. As a summer intern, I handled consumer fraud complaints, and related civil and criminal investigations. I also investigated businesses that showed patterns of unethical practices and assisted attorneys in the preparation of litigation, depositions, and court appearances.

I am grateful for the opportunity and I intend to further explore my interest in public service.

Angela Evanowski, 2L
New England Innocence Project
Boston, Massachusetts
 
At the New England Innocence Project this past summer, I had a first hand experience at our criminal justice system. Although our criminal justice system does get it right 99% of the time, it is not a perfect system. At NEIP, I was able to help staff attorneys with actual factual claims of innocence from defendants within the New England area. I was responsible for developing the entire memo that was later presented to the NEIP Board of Directors for approval of a potential client. To prepare for these memos I was expected to research new available types of DNA testing or developments since the case was tried, analyze trial transcripts, and make public record or evidence requests. This work made me realize the importance of public service work, but especially for defendants whose liberty is at cost of a faulty criminal justice system.
 
Thomas Ringler-Lantzy, 2L
Georgia Public Defender Standards Council
Atlanta, Georgia

Over this summer, I have the opportunity to work at one of the newest state agencies in the State of Georgia, the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council. Established in 2006 to address long-standing structural issues within the public defender system in Georgia, this organization manages most public defender circuit offices within the state, and also does conflict and direct appellate work at the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Georgia. Located right in the heart of downtown Atlanta next to the Georgia Dome and World of Coca-Cola, I worked with an office of around 20 attorneys preparing appeals to the appellate courts of Georgia.

During my time at the GPDSC, I worked on a number of high-profile felony cases which pushed both my academic and moral comfort zone. Hitting the ground running, by the first week I had gained a working knowledge of the Appeals process, Georgian evidentiary law, and Constitutional 6th and 14th Amendment protections enshrined in cases such as Batson v. Kentucky and Strickland v. Washington. The crown of the experience was writing a brief for submission at the Supreme Court of Georgia arguing that the State had misapplied the rule of Georgia v. McCollum and violated the constitutional rights of a number of defendants'. While this was a great experience, the position was unpaid and quite a bit of work, and there is no way I could have done it without the aid of the Public Service Fund and other organizations who helped secure me funding for the summer. I highly encourage anybody interested in public service to get involved with PSF and help upcoming generations of W&M lawyers get the same opportunity I got!

Aneta Nikolic
United States Attorney's Office

Washington, D.C.

This past summer, I worked at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington D.C. More specifically, I worked in the Misdemeanor Division. Misdemeanors is divided into different sections based on the D.C. police districts. I worked with a team of four attorneys, who were assigned cases from one police district. I assisted the attorneys in all of the cases they were working on. The attorneys started every day in the Superior Court of Washington D.C., participating in various hearings early on, and handling any trials later in the day. I attended court every week, both observing and also helping in any way I could. If we could not track down some of our police witnesses, I would call them. If we had to show opposing counsel certain video footage, I helped set it up while my attorney was before the judge. At the office, my attorneys received numerous motions to suppress on a daily basis. My main job was to oppose all those motions. I drafted oppositions to motions to suppress evidence, identification, and statements. I mainly researched Fourth and Fifth Amendment caselaw. I also watched footage of custodial interrogations to see if the defendants said anything that my attorneys could use in their trials. 

I learned so much this summer and gained a lot of practical experience. I enjoyed being very hands-on with all the cases and having the opportunity to do a lot on my own. I improved on both my writing and research skills. All the attorneys at the office were incredibly helpful and made me feel right at home. One of the things I loved about my office was seeing the strong friendship and teamwork amongst all the attorneys. It honestly just made me want to stay and work there because everyone clearly loved their job and their co-workers. 
I am very grateful to the Public Service Fund for helping make my summer a little easier. My summer stipend helped me pay for a variety of expenses, including taking (somewhat pricey) D.C. public transportation to and from work every day. PSF's goal of raising money to fund summer stipends for students working in the public service sector is an amazing thing that helps students give back in so many ways. Many students at this law school want to work in jobs that help others, and PSF makes it possible for many people to take these jobs and not have to worry about being able to afford it.