EJF stipends helped Georgetown Law alumna Connie Chung pursue a career in public interest law in law school and beyond. Here she shares her experiences:
When I started law school, I was interested in international human rights work. So for my 1L summer, I received an EJF grant to work in Durban, South Africa, at the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD). ACCORD is a human rights NGO promoting peace and sustainability throughout the African continent through dispute resolution and peacekeeping methods. I studied about the various conflicts in Africa and published an article on the civil war in Sierra Leone. I also attended a peacekeeping conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, with mid-level UN officers and other human rights workers. Not only did I learn a great deal about the civil conflicts in Africa, but I got to travel around Africa for two months.
Above- Connie working at ACCORD in South Africa
The next year, I wanted to try my hand at civil rights and impact litigation. Through my 2L EJF grant, I got to work on employment discrimination cases at the Employment Law Center (ELC) in San Francisco. Two of ELC’s cases were coming before the US Supreme Court that fall, so I spent much of the summer working on the oral arguments. In addition, I successfully represented a client—a single father with two children—in his unemployment insurance hearing.
These summer internships helped me land a permanent position after law school at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, where I worked on cases involving post-9/11 religious and racial profiling, police accountability, reproductive rights, and the First Amendment. I then moved to Los Angeles where I worked on housing discrimination cases at the Housing Rights Center (HRC). At HRC, I first-chaired my own cases in state and federal court, and argued my first case before the Ninth Circuit.
There were times in law school when I doubted whether I’d made the right decision to pursue public interest law, but my EJF summers reminded me why this was the right career path for me. Now I’m looking at changing jobs again, but I know the experiences I had during my EJF summers will help me land a new job, just like they’ve done so far.