Record $750,000 in PILA Grants Awarded to 162 Students Working in Public Interest This Summer

Students Collectively Volunteered More Than 5,000 Hours To Qualify
Montell Brown, Madeleine Hart, Sujaya Rajguru and Tim Shriver

Montell Brown ’23, Madeleine Hart ’23, Sujaya Rajguru ’22 and Tim Shriver ’22 are among 162 UVA Law students participating in summer public interest work this year. Photos by Julia Davis; Brown photo contributed

May 28, 2021

With the help of a historically high $750,000 in grants, 162 University of Virginia School of Law students will work in public service roles this summer.

The grants, which will benefit 128 first-year students and 34 second-year students, are awarded through a partnership between the Law School’s Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center and the student-run Public Interest Law Association.

Gifts by alumni and donors are the primary sources of funding. PILA also holds a series of fundraising events each year, including an auction and book sale, to help raise money for grants. First-years receive $4,000 and second-years $7,000.

“Grants for both 1Ls and 2Ls were increased this year, thanks to the generosity of our alumni, donors and the Law School Foundation,” said Annie Kim ’99, assistant dean for public service and director of the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center. “I’m so pleased that this increased funding and the launch of our new Democracy Summer Fellowship are giving more financial support than ever to our public service students.”

Grant 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 or judicial internship position and agree to volunteer their services for fundraising and other public service projects through PILA. This year, students volunteered over 5,000 hours, an average of 31 per student grantee.

“This tumultuous year of social isolation has been tough,” PILA President Elizabeth Harris ’22 said. “It is even more of an honor than usual this summer to see our students working diligently toward effectuating change for the better, and advocating for critically important societal causes.”

Funding Students' Summer Public Service Jobs

Here’s a look at what four of the fellows have planned. (See full list of jobs and locations)

Montell Brown

Montell Brown ’23

Hometown: Cincinnati

College/education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A. in criminology, M.S.Ed in urban education

Summer job: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

What he’ll be doing: I will be helping the assistant U.S. attorneys with legal research and writing, aiding trial preparation, developing trial advocacy skills and observing court proceedings. I will be working in both the Criminal Division and the Civil Division to receive a wide breadth of experience inside the U.S. Attorney’s Office. I will work on a variety of issues with a special emphasis on violations of civil rights, crimes against children and public corruption. Finally, I will gain an in-depth exposure to the role of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in protecting the community while ensuring justice.

Goals: Throughout this experience, it is my goal to gain a deeper understanding of how the criminal justice system operates. I have had experience on the state and local level. Now, I will learn the intricacies of the federal criminal justice system in order to observe the disparities that exist on this level, while remaining steadfast in my commitment to ensuring equitable and just outcomes for all who are involved in the criminal justice system. Lastly, I want to learn how federal prosecutors use their legal skills and the full force of the federal government to seek justice in the United States.

Madeleine Hart

Madeleine Hart ’23

Hometown: Long Beach, California

College/education: University of California, Irvine, B.A. in psychology

Summer job: Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office

What she’ll be doing: I’ll be participating in the summer law clerk program at Los Angeles County Public Defenders. The summer will be split in half at two different offices in the county. At each, I will be assisting deputy public defenders on a wide range of tasks, including writing briefs and motions, and assisting with investigations. If COVID-19 cases in the L.A. area stay low, I will also be able to participate in client interviews.

Goals: My goals for the summer are mainly to gain a deeper understanding of the day-to-day work of a public defender. Working directly with clients is a part of the job of being a public defender that particularly appeals to me, so I am really hoping that I will be able to help out with client interviews. Furthermore, I am looking forward to sharpening some of the practical legal skills I acquired during 1L year and getting to apply them in actual cases. I am also just very excited to get to return home and help provide an important service to people in my community.

Sujaya Rajguru

Sujaya Rajguru ’22

Hometown: Lakeland, Florida

College/education: University of Florida, B.A. in history

Summer job: NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Washington, D.C.

What she’ll be doing: I will be assisting LDF’s litigation and advocacy efforts through legal research and writing, factual investigations, discovery review, and developing educational and outreach materials.

Goals: I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to LDF’s work fighting racial injustice and to meet individuals who are also committed to this mission. I look forward to learning more about working at a nonprofit and about the intricacies of LDF’s advocacy efforts.

Tim Shriver

Tim Shriver ’22

Hometown: Chevy Chase, Maryland

Education: Yale University, B.A. in ethics, politics and economics

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

What he’ll be doing: I am working for the Special Litigation Section within the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. The Special Litigation Section is probably best known for its patterns and practices investigations of police departments. But it also works to protect the civil rights of individuals in correctional facilities and the juvenile justice system and individuals with disabilities in state institutions, as well as individuals with religious liberty claims in correctional facilities (under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act) and individuals seeking to access reproductive health (under the FACE Act). I hope to focus on police work but would be excited to work in any of the areas.

Goals: My goals are to learn as much as I can about the expansive work of the section and get to know the incredible lawyers there. I’m seriously considering applying to the DOJ Honors Program after school, and I hope my time this summer will clarify for me whether that is the right path.

Federal Government

Administrative Conference of the United States Washington, D.C.
Federal Election Commission Washington, D.C.
Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission,
Office of Administrative Law Judges
Washington, D.C.
Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Competition Washington, D.C.
General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General Washington, D.C.
National Labor Relations Board, Division of Judges Washington, D.C.
Securities and Exchange Commission Washington, D.C.
U.S. Army JAG Corps (2) Fort Knox, Ky.
U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Nevada Las Vegas
U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey Newark, N.J.
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania Philadelphia
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia (2) Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California San Diego
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida Miami
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York New York
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Virginia Charlottesville
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington Seattle
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
Departmental Appeals Board
Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division,
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
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 Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section (2) Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division,
Office of Enforcement Operations
Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, National Courts Section Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Labor, Regional Office of the Solicitor Arlington, Va.
U.S. Department of State Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of General Counsel,
CAVC Litigation Group
Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of General Counsel,
Court of Appeals Litigation Group
Washington, D.C.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Washington, D.C.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2) San Francisco
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement New York
U.S. Senate, Office of Senator Marsha Blackburn Washington, D.C.

Judicial

California Supreme Court San Francisco
Florida Supreme Court Tallahassee, Fla.
Georgia Court of Appeals Atlanta
Michigan 30th Circuit Court, Ingham County Lansing, Mich.
New York Supreme Court New York
Supreme Court of Wyoming Cheyenne, Wyo.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas Austin, Texas
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Columbus, Ohio
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Pittsburgh
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (6) Washington, D.C.
U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut Bridgeport, Conn.
U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (2) Greenbelt, Md.
U.S. District Court for the District of Montana Missoula, Mont.
U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts Boston
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (2) Orlando, Fla.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Chicago
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York Albany, N.Y.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (2) Waco, Texas
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (2) San Diego
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Fort Pierce, Fla.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana Indianapolis
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (3) New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Dayton, Ohio
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri Kansas City, Kan.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina (2) Charlotte, N.C.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas Midland, Texas
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia (2) Lynchburg, Va.

Legal Services/Nonprofits

ACLU, National Prison Project Washington, D.C.
American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law Washington, D.C.
American Oversight Washington, D.C.
Animal Equality Los Angeles
Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach San Francisco
Ayuda Legal San Juan, Puerto Rico
Center for Justice and Accountability San Francisco
Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (2) Charlottesville
Columbia University, Knight First Amendment Institute New York
Communities Resist New York
Conservation Law Foundation Boston
disAbility Law Center Richmond, Va.
Earth Rights International Washington, D.C.
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant Berkeley, Calif.
Environmental Integrity Project Washington, D.C.
Environmental Law Institute Washington, D.C.
Equality California Los Angeles
First Liberty Institute Plano, Texas
Florida Justice Institute Miami
Georgia Justice Project Atlanta
Government Accountability Institute Tallahassee, Fla.
Home for Good Panama City, Fla.
Human Rights Now Tokyo
Institute for Justice Austin, Texas
Just Neighbors (2) Annandale, Va.
Juvenile Law Center Philadelphia
Legal Aid Justice Center (7) Charlottesville
Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice Los Angeles
MacArthur Justice Center New Orleans
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Washington, D.C.
National Council for Incarcerate and Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls Washington, D.C.
National Treasury Employees Union Washington, D.C.
New York University Law School, Brennan Center for Justice Washington, D.C.
New York University, Office of General Counsel New York
Northeast Justice Center Lawrence, Mass.
Political Economy Research Institute Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Promise of Justice Initiative New Orleans
Sanctuary for Families (2) New York
Southern Environmental Law Center (2) Charlottesville
Sugar Law Center Detroit
The Capital Appeals Project New Orleans
The Illinois Prison Project Chicago
The Legal Aid Society of D.C. Washington, D.C.
The Rutherford Institute Charlottesville
Vermont Prisoners’ Rights Office Montpelier, Vt.
Yale Center for Educational Law & Policy New Haven, Conn.

Prosecution

Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office (2) Charlottesville
Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office Charlottesville
Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Phoenix

Public Defense

Alexandria Public Defender’s Office Alexandria, Va.
Charlottesville-Albemarle Public Defender’s Office Charlottesville
Chittenden Public Defender’s Office Burlington, Vt.
Dallas County Public Defender’s Office Dallas, Texas
Federal Defender Program, Inc. Atlanta
Federal Public Defender, Eastern District of Virginia (2) Norfolk, Va.
Federal Public Defender, Middle District of Florida Fort Myers, Fla.
Federal Public Defender, Western District of Pennsylvania Pittsburgh
Federal Public Defender, Western District of Virginia (2) Charlottesville
Georgia Public Defender Council, Office of the Appellate Defender Atlanta
Law Offices of the Shelby County Public Defender Memphis, Tenn.
Legal Aid Society of New York New York
Legal Aid Society of New York City, Juvenile Rights Division New York
Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office Los Angeles
Lynchburg Public Defender’s Office Lynchburg, Va.
Marin County Public Defender San Rafael, Calif.
Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office Charlotte, N.C.
New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, Morris Region Morristown, N.J.
Orleans Public Defenders New Orleans
Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
Richmond Public Defender’s Office (2) Richmond, Va.

State and Local Government

Alaska Department of Law (2) Anchorage, Alaska
Albemarle County Attorney’s Office Charlottesville
California Attorney General’s Office, Appeals, Writs, and Trials Division San Francisco
Madison County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office Madison, Va.
NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications New York
Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office Providence, R.I.

 

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