Equal Justice Foundation
Friday, February 13, 2015
But more than the research and writing skills, Judge Coogler gave us opportunities to see things we will never get to see in a classroom. I had the opportunity to tour two prisons to see how the facilities are run and the opportunities and drawbacks of each. I was also able to meet with officers at the Tuscaloosa police department to learn about finger print analysis and crime scene investigations. I saw sentencing hearings, met with different judges, and was even able to observe a criminal jury trial from beside the bench. And in one of the coolest moments of my life, I had the opportunity to put on a training suit and get attacked by a police dog.
Through my experience working on the habeas petition and my greater understanding of the conditions prisoners find themselves in, I felt the injustice that comes from having a bad attorney and the constant injustice that comes from having an apathetic one. When I expressed my interest in public defense, Judge Coogler helped me get a week at the federal defender’s office in Birmingham. That week confirmed my desire and has helped guide my decisions through this year of law school.
My summer in the judge’s chambers opened up more opportunities than I ever could have dreamed. I was surrounded by professionals who wanted to help me in my journey through law school and genuinely wanted to teach me everything I longed to know. Without this experience, I may still be a lost law student unsure of my path; with it, I am confident and more prepared for my future than I could have imagined. Such an experience is only possible with EJF funding. Judicial internships are completely unpaid, but I still needed to pay for my apartment in Tuscaloosa and supplement some of my subletted apartment in DC. Because of EJF funding I was able to take the internship with the judge and have peace of mind about my summer finances. A once in a lifetime opportunity with peace of mind… I could not have asked for a better summer.
- June Gargus, Georgetown University Law Center L'16
Monday, February 2, 2015
One of my favorite assignments was assisting in writing a brief for a case before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Under the supervision of a CLINIC staff attorney, I researched and co-wrote a brief for a pro-bono client. I learned so much about how an immigration case is processed and how criminal convictions can impact immigration status. The case involved several complicated and developing legal issues, but the supervising attorney spent a great deal of his time breaking down the issues with me. It was an incredible learning experience and provided me with a great writing sample.
I was also able to write a comment for a proposed agency rule, analyze state immigration laws, and research issues for proposed legislative action. I really enjoyed gaining exposure to policy research and advocacy, as well as more traditional legal work.
My internship at CLINIC also exposed me to the various agencies and non-profit organizations involved in immigration. We attended meetings with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Patrol, and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. We also coordinated with non-governmental organizations such as Ayuda, and the Progressive States Network. It was useful to see how organizations work with government agencies, and one another, to advocate on immigration issues. I remain in touch with the CLINIC attorneys. One of them is also working with me as a supervising attorney for the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project. I have also called another for advice regarding a case I worked on for Georgetown's Center for Applied Legal Studies. The internship was exactly what I needed for my 1L summer. I learned about the area of law in which I want to practice, I developed my professional network, worked with great people, and got paid through EJF while doing so.
- Kelly Hughes, Georgetown Law '16
Saturday, January 31, 2015
Auction Day was a success!!!! We are so appreciative to everyone who participated by either coming to the events this past week or giving a charitable donation. The Equal Justice Foundation raised over $10,000 in ONE DAY to help fund Georgetown Law students engaged in public interest work this summer. We couldn't be more proud.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Afterwards, they can relive their glory days and stay for the live auction in Hart Auditorium.
Monday, January 5, 2015
This past summer I had the pleasure of working for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina. I worked out of the Charlotte office and had the opportunity to participate in some really interesting cases, including a narcotics and bank fraud trial. The United States Attorney’s Office provided me with meaningful legal research and writing experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my legal career. For example, I wrote my own 4th Circuit brief and was given time sensitive legal research projects regarding jury instructions for several trials.
While I entered law school with an eye toward the private sector, my summer experience exposed my interest in criminal work and has led me to believe I am interested in working for a government agency such as the US Attorney’s Office down the road. This experience and knowledge would not have been possible without the help of EJF. Because most government internship opportunities are unpaid, the financial realities of being a law student would have made it difficult for me to accept the internship and gain this meaningful experience. The knowledge that I would be receiving a stipend to assist with my summer living expenses encouraged me to accept an internship in Charlotte.
Thank you EJF and keep up the good work!
-- Drew Newman
Last summer I had the privilege of working at the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty thanks to the Equal Justice Foundation summer funding. Before coming to law school, I knew that I wanted to get experience working with legal organizations dedicated to social justice issues, and the EJF summer funding allowed me to do just that. I chose to complete an unpaid internship at NLCHP this summer because I am passionate about issues facing people living in poverty and suffering from homelessness.
At NLCHP, I joined an amazing group of attorneys in their pursuit to end homelessness in the United States. NLCHP focuses on the criminalization of homelessness, housing, and youth and education. I chose NLCHP because it is an organization that understands the complex nature of homelessness and that no one approach can help solve the problem. As such, NLCHP uses direct advocacy, policy work, and impact litigation to create a comprehensive and effective program. No other organization in the country has such a program, and I wanted to be a part of it.
As a legal intern, I was responsible for helping attorneys edit and research portions of No Safe Place: the Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities, speak with advocates, local advocacy groups, and politicians about homeless bills of rights, and attend litigation strategy meetings for a case that challenged Wisconsin’s voting ID law. Each day I had the opportunity to learn more about an issue I am passionate about, gain valuable organizing and writing skills, and help the country end homelessness.
I will never forget my experience at NLCHP, and I have EJF to thank for it. Two weeks before finals, and a month before I started my internship at NLCHP, I had to have foot surgery and was unable to put any weight on my left foot for three and a half months. Without EJF’s summer funding, I would not have been able to afford paying my rent, medical bills, and transportationcosts to and from the office. The EJF funding was absolutely invaluable. I really don’t know what I would have done without it.
EJF’s summer funding allowed me to complete my unpaid internship at NLCHP, and I am forever grateful.
-- Gene Sowa
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
My main task as a judicial intern was to resolve parties' motions to dismiss. I also attended oral arguments at every stage in the litigation process: motion calendar, trials, summary judgment proceedings, and other matters before the court. Indeed, most of my work dealt with assisting Judge Freeman in several high dollar controversies. I witnessed very impressive counsel from all over the country, litigating complex civil disputes, and at times the arguments were as sophisticated as those given before appeals courts.
At the same time, Judge Freeman maintained a foreclosure calendar, which allowed me to see a different side of the civil litigation process. The recent housing market decline hit Miami very hard, and each judge at the county courthouse had to take on a docket, loaded with several hundred cases. Twice a week, the judge heard oral arguments on her foreclosure calendar. Given the number of cases, we sometimes had to move to a larger courtroom to fit the litigants. Several parties represented themselves. Some attorney’s represented, on the same day, as many as ten different plaintiffs. I heard arguments from landlords trying to evict to tenants crying with their families, begging the judge for a 30 day stay on a bank’s eviction notice. Some attorneys, barely dressed in business casual wearing sunglasses on their head, perpetually frustrated Judge Freeman. Foreclosed tenants hired attorneys to submit any argument, boarding on the frivolous. The disparity in representation was glaring. Over the course of several days, I would hear arguments and analyze motions from some of the best and worst attorney’s in Florida; from the large law firm to the motions submitted by pro se litigants. The experience provided me an opportunity to compare and contrast legal writing and presentation skills spanning the spectrum of lawyers.
The practical skills I learned in the several weeks at the Miami-Dade Courthouse allowed me to get a first hand experience on the workings in an overcrowded state court, apply my legal skills in a real world environment, establish contacts, and network with potential employers. Such an experience would not have been possible without EJF funding and support.