Record $703,370 in PILA Grants Awarded to 166 Students Working in Public Interest This Summer

Students Collectively Volunteered More Than 11,000 Hours To Qualify
Ron Beach ’21, Jessica Feinberg ’21, Grace Powell ’20 and Nooreen Reza ’21

Ron Beach ’21, Jessica Feinberg ’21, Grace Powell ’20 and Nooreen Reza ’21 are among 166 UVA Law students participating in summer public interest work this year. Photos by Julia Davis

May 8, 2019

The University of Virginia School of Law will fund a record number of students working in public service roles this summer. With jobs ranging from civil rights compliance to securities regulations to local economic development, 166 students will receive a historic $703,370 in grants.

“So many students whom I speak with are able to intern at their dream job during their 1L or 2L summers — myself included — because of this program,” said Rachel Raycraft ’20, president of the student-run Public Interest Law Association, which works with the Law School’s Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center to disburse the funds.

The grants will benefit 131 first-year students, who will each receive $3,750 in funding, and 35 second-year students, who receive $6,500. The Mortimer Caplin Public Service Fellowships and the Linda Fairstein Public Service Fellowships are the primary sources of funding.

“Thanks to PILA’s fundraising efforts and the Law School Foundation’s generosity, students can pursue their passions wherever they may lead,” said Annie Kim ’99, assistant dean for public service and director of the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center.

Student recipients are required to apply and qualify for the funding by volunteering their time for pro bono work — 40 hours for first-year students and 80 hours for second-year students. Grantees must also have secured a public service position and agree to donate hours back to PILA, which founded the grant program.

PILA holds a series of fundraising events each year, including an auction and book sale, to help raise money for grants.

This year, students volunteered about 11,050 hours, an average of 67 per student grantee.

PILA grant funding statistics

Over the summer, students will work in 55 U.S. cities, and one student will work internationally, in San José, Costa Rica. Here’s a look at what four of the fellows have planned. (See list of jobs and locations)

Ron Beach

Ron Beach ’21

Hometown: Chicago

College/education: University of Michigan

Summer job: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement, Chicago

What he’ll be doing: The Enforcement Division investigates and litigates to oversee securities markets.  As I work to maintain fair dealing and protect the market against fraud, I will be completing legal research on securities laws, drafting legal memoranda to facilitate capital formation and assisting with the preparation of materials for testimony.

Goals: My primary goal is to gain invaluable insights into how the SEC chooses to pursue cases. During this internship, I hope to develop a working understanding of what constitutes important evidence and impactful legal arguments in civil enforcement actions involving a party charged with securities violations.

Jessica Feinberg

Jessica Feinberg ’21

Hometown: Palo Alto, California

College/education: Smith College, bachelor’s in sociology

Summer job: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Washington, D.C.

What she’ll be doing: The Disability Rights Section enforces the Americans With Disabilities Act. As a legal intern, I’ll help investigate allegations of discrimination in violation of Titles I, II and III of the ADA, including compiling data and conducting legal research. I’ll also be responsible for reviewing documents, drafting letters and preparing legal memoranda and briefs, as well as helping with enforcement and regulatory work.

Goals: I’m hoping that I’ll sharpen my research and writing skills this summer, and get exposure to different stages of the trial process so I can make more informed decisions about how I personally want to practice law. I ultimately want to do civil rights litigation, so I couldn’t be more excited to start supporting that work, especially in an area as critical as disability rights.

Grace Powell

Grace Powell ’20

Hometown: Arlington, Virginia

College/education: Wesleyan University

Summer job: The Bronx Defenders, New York City

What she’ll be doing: At The Bronx Defenders this summer, I will be shadowing two attorneys from the criminal defense practice as they handle cases ranging from turnstile jumps to serious felonies. I will also get the chance to participate in The Bronx Defender’s trial training program, where interns get the chance to do a full mock trial throughout the course of the summer and get feedback from experienced trial attorneys. Because The Bronx Defenders has a holistic model of public defense, I will also get the chance to work alongside civil attorneys, social workers and immigration attorneys dealing with the collateral consequences of contact with the criminal justice system. 

Goals: My goals for the summer are to learn more about Bronx criminal court and the trial process there and learn from attorneys and clients about the community that The Bronx Defenders serves as I pursue my goal of becoming a public defender.

Nooreen Reza

Nooreen Reza ’21

Hometown: Wise, Virginia

College/education: Yale University

Summer job: Urban Justice Center Community Development Project, New York City

What she’ll be doing: I will be working with the Equitable Neighborhoods practice at UJC. The mission of EN is to empower grassroots organizers and community voices to play a leading role in the economic development of their neighborhoods. I will be assisting attorneys and activists with current advocacy efforts around large-scale private residential development projects, re-zonings and public housing infills, to ensure that development does not equal displacement of low-income residents but instead brings community-focused reinvestment and allows them to thrive.

Goals: Before law school, I worked as a housing paralegal for low-income tenants facing eviction, which meant by the time I met my clients for the first time, the system had already failed them profoundly. At the Urban Justice Center, I look forward to learning how a legal aid organization can both serve individuals in crisis, and also create capacity to help socially marginalized communities intervene in the legal and political process from the start, to make sure their interests are not disregarded in neighborhood-altering development decisions.

Federal Government

Congressional Research Service

Washington, D.C.

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C.

Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (2)

Washington, D.C.

Federal Public Defender, District of Colorado

Denver, Colo.

Federal Public Defender, Western District of Virginia (2)

Charlottesville

National Labor Relations Board

Portland, Ore.

National Science Foundation

Alexandria, Va.

Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland

Greenbelt, Md.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland (2)

Baltimore

U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Montana

Great Falls, Mont.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Rhode Island

Providence, R.I.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York

New York

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, Criminal Division

New York

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia, Civil Division

Alexandria, Va.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California

Oakland, Calif.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Texas

Dallas

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California

San Diego

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York

White Plains, N.Y.

U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Military Commissions

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Departmental Appeals Board

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Arlington, Va.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, Telecommunications and Broadband Section

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Appellate Staff (2)

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section (2)

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section (3)

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Office of the Assistant Attorney General

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Appellate Section (2)

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Office of Enforcement Operations

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Office of International Affairs

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Public Integrity Section

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, National Security Division, Counterterrorism Section

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Justice, Public Integrity Section

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Labor

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of the Treasury

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2 (2)

New York

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of General Counsel, Appellate Litigation Services

Washington, D.C.

U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee

Washington, D.C.

U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (2)

Arlington, Va.

U.S. Navy

Mayport, Fla.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Chicago

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Atlanta

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (3)

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Small Business Administration

Washington, D.C.

International

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Washington, D.C.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

San José, Costa Rica

United Nations Department of Safety and Security

New York

Nonprofit

American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts

Boston

American Oversight

Washington, D.C.

Ashoka

Arlington, Va.

Ayuda

Washington, D.C.

Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A

New York

Central Virginia Legal Aid Society

Charlottesville

CFA Institute (2)

Charlottesville

Community Justice, Inc.

Madison, Wis.

Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto

East Palo Alto, Calif.

disAbility Law Center of Virginia

Charlottesville

Disability Rights Advocates

Berkeley, Calif.

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Washington, D.C.

Environmental Defense Fund

Boulder, Colo.

Equal Justice Center

Austin, Texas

Government Accountability Project

Washington, D.C.

International Finance Corporation, Doing Business Program

Washington, D.C.

Jerome N. Frank Legal Service Organization, Yale Law School

New Haven, Conn.

Just Neighbors

Annandale, Va.

Kids in Need of Defense

Atlanta

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Washington, D.C.

Legal Aid Justice Center (2)

Charlottesville

Legal Aid of Nebraska

Omaha, Neb.

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands

Nashville, Tenn.

Legal Aid Society of New York

New York

Legal Aid Society of New York

New York

Legal Aid Society of New York, Housing Help Program

New York

Mercy for Animals

Los Angeles

Mobilization for Justice

New York

NAACP Legal Defense Fund

New York

National Employment Law Project

Washington, D.C.

New York Peace Institute

New York

Pacific Legal Foundation

Sacramento, Calif.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Los Angeles

Public Interest Law Center

Philadelphia

Rush University Memorial Hospital

Chicago

Southern Coalition for Social Justice

Durham, N.C.

Southern Poverty Law Center

Lumpkin, Ga.

Urban Justice Center, Equitable Neighborhoods Practice

New York

Urban Leaders Fellowship

Nashville, Tenn.

Virginia Innocence Project

Charlottesville

World Bank Group

Washington, D.C.

Yale Law School Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency

New Haven, Conn.

Public Defense

Alexandria Public Defender’s Office (2)

Alexandria, Va.

Arlington Public Defender’s Office

Arlington, Va.

Bronx Defenders

New York

Brooklyn Defender Services

New York

Charlottesville-Albemarle Public Defender’s Office (3)

Charlottesville

Colorado Office of the Public Defender

Brighton, Colo.

Colorado Office of the Public Defender

Castle Rock, Colo.

Federal Community Defenders, Capital Habeas Unit

Philadelphia

Federal Public Defender, District of Maryland

Greenbelt, Md.

Federal Public Defender, Eastern District of Virginia (3)

Norfolk, Va.

Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office

Phoenix

Maryland Office of the Public Defender

Towson, Md.

Maryland Office of the Public Defender (2)

Baltimore

Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office (2)

Charlotte, N.C.

Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem

New York

Petersburg Public Defender’s Office

Petersburg, Va.

Philadelphia Police Department

Philadelphia

Public Defender of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County

Nashville, Tenn.

Richmond Public Defender’s Office

Richmond, Va.

Worcester Public Defender’s Office

Worcester, Mass.

State and Local Government

Albemarle County Attorney’s Office

Charlottesville

Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office

Charlottesville

California Department of Justice

San Francisco

California Office of the Attorney General

San Francisco

Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office (2)

Charlottesville

City of Chicago Department of Law

Chicago

District of Columbia Office of the Solicitor General

Washington, D.C.

Hennepin County Attorney’s Office

Minneapolis

Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office

Los Angeles

Missouri Secretary of State

Kansas City, Mo.

Nashville Metro Legal

Nashville, Tenn.

Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office

Lovingston, Va.

Neshoba County District Attorney

Philadelphia, Miss.

New York Attorney General, Investor Protection Division

New York

New York City Law Department

New York

North Carolina State Board of Education

Raleigh, N.C.

Richmond Commonwealth Attorney’s Office

Richmond, Va.

Richmond Police Department, Office of General Counsel

Richmond, Va.

San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

San Diego

San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office

Stockton, Calif.

Sixth Judicial District Prosecutor

Little Rock, Ark.

University of Virginia, University Counsel’s Office

Charlottesville

Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice

Richmond, Va.

Virginia Office of the Attorney General

Richmond, Va.

Virginia Tech International Support Services

Blacksburg, Va.

Washington State Office of the Attorney General

Olympia, Wash.

West Virginia Office of the Solicitor General

Charleston, W.Va.

 

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