Instead of just reading about equal justice, four law students from Case Western Reserve University will spend the summer interning with nonprofit public interest law organizations as a part of Equal Justice Works' Summer Corps program.
Lauren Gilbride, Tiffany Nevel, Meghan Preston and Matthew Vincel will each receive a $1,000 education award voucher through this national AmeriCorps-funded program. These students were among 608 applicants for 315 participant slots nationwide. The 2006 Summer Corps participants are first-year and second-year law students, and they will each serve at least 300 hours in public interest internships, providing critically needed legal assistance to low-income and underserved communities in 42 states.
Summer Corps members will also gain first-hand experience and legal skills in areas such as client intake, individual representation, research and writing. Summer Corps program participants work on a broad range of issues such as civil rights, community economic development, death penalty, disability rights, housing, domestic violence, education, public benefits and workers' rights.
Preston will intern with the National Disability Rights Network in Washington, D.C., while Gilbride, Nevel and Vincel will intern with Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
Two of the students shed insight on what their internships will consist of:
Preston, a Chillicothe, Ohio native, found out she earned the prestigious internship last spring. Her responsibilities with the National Disability Rights Network will include legal research and writing involving issues relating to persons of disabilities, and assisting the organization at their annual conference for protection and advocacy agencies. "During college, I did fundraising for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society," Preston, who is studying disability law, said of her background. "During my second year of law school, I worked for a Cleveland law firm assisting persons with disabilities in obtaining SSDI and SSI benefits." She plans to return to that firm after graduating next year.
Meanwhile, Nevel will work on unemployment compensation cases for Legal Aid in Cleveland. "I will be working on cases by doing research, interviewing clients and observing court proceedings, amongst other things," she explained. In addition, she also will help put together a pamphlet for clients, and assist her supervisor in identifying areas in the system that need changes. The Bethlehem, Pa. native is scheduled to graduate next May.
Equal Justice Works, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, was founded by law students dedicated to working for equal justice on behalf of underserved communities and causes. For more information visit http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/.
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