PILA Funds Record 59 Public Service Fellowships
The Public Interest Law Association (PILA) will be providing more than $242,000 in fellowships to 17 second-year and 42 first-year law students in public service jobs this summer. The number of fellows increased by five from last year, boosted by outreach to 1Ls as well as PILA’s more successful fundraising efforts.
“I think a lot of the foundation for the success this year was built last year,” said outgoing PILA president Tiffany Marshall. “We’ve taken the seeds that were sown last year and watched them grow by leaps and bounds.”
This year PILA made an effort to reach out to first-years by instituting a program in which each 1L section elected a classmate to be a PILA representative. “Having those students in place to be our mouthpieces was just really an essential part of getting us where we are,” Marshall said.
When it came to fundraisers, “we had a record-breaking year on all fronts,” said outgoing PILA disbursements director Meredith Horton, a second-year law student. “I think it was a combination of new programs growing in popularity and first-time programs we hope to bring back.”
PILA’s voucher call-back program, in which firms were asked to donate the cost of a hotel stay for students who stayed with friends instead, raised $12,000, more than double last year’s total. The amount raised through a program in which underclassmen rented graduation housing to third-year law students and their families tripled. The annual PILA Auction, the organization’s biggest fund raiser, also broke records, netting $55,000 after expenses. Funds PILA raises are matched dollar for dollar by the Law School Foundation. First-year fellows receive $3,542 and second year fellows are granted $5,903.
“We’ve really tried to expand our efforts this year to be inclusive,” said Marshall, pointing to events like “AcaPILA”—an American Idol-style karaoke contest that brought out students new to the group as well as professors (some of whom served as judges Randy, Simon, and Paula).
This was also the first year PILA instituted a pro bono hours requirement mandating that 1L applicants complete at least 10 hours of service and second-years 25 hours. Applicants for the fellowship in the past had averaged 30 hours, but PILA wanted to ensure that applicants who were committed to public service were rewarded.
“In the end we were really pleased with the impact the requirement had. The quality of applicants really improved,” said Horton. In many cases, “students who worked on pro bono projects were able to turn those projects into summer positions.” Eighty students applied for the fellowships during fall and spring application rounds.
PILA Fellows are using their grants to fund public service positions for a variety of employers, from legal aid groups and high-profile public interest organizations like Human Rights First to state and federal government jobs and work in international NGOs. (see list below)
Second-year law student Candace Glover will use her PILA fellowship to make a hard-right turn away from what seemed like a foretold future working at a firm. “I hit a wall—I felt like I was walking along a track that was just put on me,” said Glover, an economics major who worked for three years at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley after graduating from Spelman College. After working for a firm her first-year summer, she realized she wanted to return to the ideals expressed in her law school application’s personal statement: “I wanted to change the world. I really wanted to make the legal system available for people who couldn’t afford it.”
Glover also fell in love with Professor Anne Coughlin’s Criminal Investigation class, which led her to apply to the D.C. Public Defenders Office Criminal Law Internship Program. The office received 860 applications for its summer program—and only 62 were accepted, including Glover.
Glover said it was difficult coming from a firm background to public interest. “People didn’t think I was serious,” she said. But “It was one of the first interviews where I was totally relaxed. I didn’t have to prepare for the interview and think about questions—everything came from the heart. When I did my second-round interview, they gave me the job in 20 minutes.”
In the position, Glover will shadow a public defender, go to trials, and learn how the D.C. criminal system works. “I hope that maybe we’ll give someone else a second chance,” she said.
It may also give her a good education on the workings of her own hometown—which may come in handy if she’s going to fulfill her dream of being mayor of Washington, D.C., one day.
First-year law student Laura Holland also will be spending this summer in D.C., but will be working for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, focusing primarily on health issues. Holland worked on Capitol Hill for U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal of Georgia after receiving her B.A. from the University of Virginia. She returned to law school not long after.
“I thought by getting a law degree I could one day return to the Hill to focus on the issues I’m most interested in pursuing,” she said. “After volunteering in nursing homes during college, I realized I wanted to pair my interest in the law with my desire to make advances in national policy for the elderly.”
Holland said the fellowship allowed her to explore a different track from firm work. “I’m particularly interested in working for the government in the future,” she said. “This grant allows me to feel this is a step I can take.”
This year brought many PILA fellows to U.S. attorney’s offices in places as diverse as Philadelphia, Maine, Alabama, Michigan, and Texas, but second-year law student Chris Jackson is staying closer to home, working at the U.S. attorney’s office in Charlottesville.
“I really like criminal law—you tend to have a lot more experience actually in the courtroom, versus transactional law or civil litigation, and I really like being in a courtroom, standing up before a judge and jury making arguments,” said Jackson, who wanted to stay in town because his wife has a part-time job here. “[Criminal] cases tend to be much shorter—they don’t get nearly as frequently dragged out into years of depositions and litigation.” Before coming to law school Jackson held jobs at Goldman Sachs and at the State Department’s Political Military Affairs Bureau.
“Other students in the past have actually gotten to get very hands-on with the cases, and with their third-year practice certificate take cases to trial,” said Jackson, who also has applied for his certificate. “That’s what I’m hoping to do this summer.” Jackson may even be able to work with a former teacher—Charlottesville U.S. Attorney Bill Gould was his Trial Advocacy professor.
PILA Fellows this year stayed a little closer to home this year; only five are going abroad (compared to last year’s 11) to work in positions like those at the Sarajevo War Crimes Court and the International Justice Mission, among others.
First-year law student Kate Flatley will be combining her interests in anthropology, her undergraduate major at Yale, and law in her internship in Guatemala, where she will work for the Open Society Institute’s Access to Justice initiative, a program co-sponsored with the Swedish government. Flatley will be involved in a project that will investigate incorporating indigenous peoples’ laws into the current Guatemalan legal system. She will also evaluate how the country’s agrarian court, established to focus on land rights and property rights issues, has performed so far.
The country emerged from a 36-year war in 1996, and terms in the peace accords, for the most part, “have not been accomplished,” Flatley said. The internship will be a homecoming of sorts—Flatley worked in Guatemala for two years before law school on education rights for indigenous people.
“I came to law school to get the tools and the knowledge to better serve those populations,” she said. The Connecticut native worked for the Institute, also known as the Soros Foundation, after graduating from Yale, focusing on international public health issues while based in New York. “I’m excited to have an opportunity to work in-country for the Soros Foundation,” she said. After law school, “I would really like to work abroad and return to Central America.”
Flatley interviewed for the job in January while visiting friends in Guatemala over winter break, and applied for the fellowship afterwards. Without funding, “I wouldn’t have been able to do it,” she said.
|PUBLIC INTEREST ORGANIZATIONS|
|Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression||Charlottesville, VA||Brandon Butler|
|Equal Rights Center||Washington, D.C.||Dania Davy|
|Children's Law Center of Massachusetts||Lynn, MA||Vera Garrity|
|Human Rights First||Washington, D.C.||Melany Grout|
|National Immigration Project||Boston, MA||Fiona McKinnon|
|The Nature Conservancy||Virginia||Michelle Stavola|
|Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression||Charlottesville, VA||Brian Tiemann|
|Trustees for Alaska||Anchorage, AK||Matt VanWormer|
|CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES|
|Central American Legal Assistance||Brooklyn, NY||Heather Axford|
|Legal Aid Justice Center||Charlottesville, VA||Janet Boysen|
|Legal Aid Justice Center, Just Children Program||Charlottesville, VA||Marina Chase|
|Legal Services of Northern Virginia||Alexandria, VA||Tiffany Clements|
|South Brooklyn Legal Services||Brooklyn, NY||Jennifer DaCosta|
|Southern Migrant Legal Services||Nashville, TN||Clermont Fraser|
|Virginia Justice Center||Charlottesville, VA||Michael Hollander|
|Public Counsel Law Center||Los Angeles, CA||Brooke Minor|
|Legal Aid Justice Center, Just Children Program||Charlottesville, VA||Renada Rutmanis|
|Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (split)||Charlottesville, VA||Kathryn Skagerberg|
|Legal Aid Justice Center, Just Children Program||Charlottesville, VA||Amy Woolard|
|Legal Aid Justice Center (split)||Charlottesville, VA||Kelly Voss|
|Salt Lake Legal Defenders||Salt Lake City, UT||Courtney Cass|
|Alaska Public Defender Agency||Anchorage, AK||Rachel Cella|
|D.C. Public Defenders||Washington, D.C.||Candace Glover|
|Fredericksburg Public Defender's Office||Fredericksburg, VA||Paul Godfrey|
|Charlottesville-Albemarle Public Defender||Charlottesville, VA||Nicole Hancock|
|Charlottesville-Albemarle Public Defender's Office||Charlottesville, VA||Joshua Hartshorn|
|Capital Defender's Office||Norfolk, VA||Thomas Higham|
|Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center||Charlottesville, VA||Emre Ilter|
|Nashville Public Defender's Office (split)||Nashville, TN||Kelly Voss|
|Department of Justice, Office of Special Investigations||Washington, D.C.||Matthew Berde|
|U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||William Bushman|
|U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maine||Maine||Joshua Ferrentino|
|U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Alabama||Montgomery, AL||Milligan Grinstead|
|U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee||Washington, D.C.||Laura Holland|
|U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia||Charlottesville, VA||Christopher Jackson|
|National Labor Relations Board — Region 5||Baltimore, MD||Timothy Kennedy|
|U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California||California||Bret Ladine|
|Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section||Washington, D.C.||Josephine Liu|
|Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Child Exploitation Section||Washington, D.C.||J. Brody McMurtry|
|Department of Justice, Aviation and Admiralty Office||Washington, D.C.||James Parker|
|U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas||Houston, TX||Allissa Pollard|
|U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan||Grand Rapids, MI||Michael Schuitema|
|U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia||Charlottesville, VA||Evan Seifert|
|Department of Justice, Environmental Crimes Section||Washington, D.C.||Daniel Shean|
|U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia||Washington, D.C.||Kira Walmer|
|Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division||Washington, D.C.||Tyler Welti|
|Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training||Washington, D.C.||Alan Wong|
|STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT|
|Albemarle County Commonwealth Attorney's Office||Charlottesville, VA||D. Zachary Adams|
|North Carolina Guardian ad Litem State Office||Raleigh, NC||Cary Brege|
|Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General||Boston, MA||James Evans|
|Westchester County District Attorney's Office||White Plains, NY||James Hannigan|
|Albemarle County Attorney's Office||Charlottesville, VA||Nikolena Moysich|
|Charlottesville City Commonwealth's Attorney Office||Charlottesville, VA||Rhonda Perkins|
|Portland City Attorney's Office||Portland, OR||Sharon Rye|
|Commonwealth's Attorney of Virginia Beach||Virginia Beach, VA||Christy Tuttle|
|Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office (split)||Milwaukee, WI||Kathryn Skagerberg|
|Sarajevo War Crimes Court, Office of the Prosecutor||Bosnia||Natalie Blazer|
|International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia||Bosnia-Herzegovina||Hallet Brazelton|
|Soros Foundation||Guatemala||Kate Flatley|
|International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda||Arusha, Tanzania||James Ryan Harvey|
|International Justice Mission||Washington, D.C. and Kampala, Uganda||Prisca Shrewsbury|
• Reported by Mary Wood