October 1, 2008
From employment law to housing, from Brooklyn to Hawaii, CUNY Law students turn classroom practice to lawyering during summer internships. Here, some of their stories.
Aaron Amaral, Class of 2009
What I did for the summer: I spent the summer interning at a small civil rights and employee-side employment law firm, Ritz & Clark, LLP. My work, funded through a Revson fellowship, included research, writing memoranda, and drafting Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charge forms, as well as pleadings for the federal and state courts.
What I most enjoyed about it: The opportunity to help a small group of plaintiffs who are among the most vulnerable in the work force, among them immigrants, attempt to gain a modicum of justice after having been subjected to physical and sexual violence and abuse in the workplace.
What I learned: I learned a lot about the ins and outs of employment law and the mechanics of civil rights and employment suits.
Casey Bryant, Class of 2010
What I did for the summer: I was a law clerk at the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii in the Public Benefits Unit.
What I most enjoyed about it: Helping people who get lost in the system figure out how to help themselves was very rewarding.
What I learned: I experienced first-hand that work as an attorney is more than just learning how to research and interpret the law.
Jessica Glynn, Class of 2009
What I did for the summer: I interned at the Safe Horizon Immigration Law Project as a Revson Public Interest Law Fellow. I assisted with domestic violence, asylum and citizenship claims. I interviewed clients and developed case strategy, drafted affidavits and petitions to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and drafted motions and briefs. I also researched and wrote memoranda on country conditions and other relevant social and economic issues facing clients seeking asylum and accompanied clients to hearings at the Board of Immigration Appeals.
What I most enjoyed about it: This experience brought together all of my professional and personal passions. I have long been interested in international human rights issues, and immigration law provides an interesting (although not always adequate or just) framework for pursuing human rights based relief in domestic courts.
What I learned: Working with clients who have been victims of torture and domestic violence is full of heartache. Our legal system consistently fails people in immigration and humanitarian matters, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of an academic and professional community that zealously advocates for change.
Alexander Keblish, Class of 2009
What I did for the summer: I interned at the anti-predatory lending/foreclosure rescue unit at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A. I interned there in the Spring 2008 semester and decided to continue the internship for the summer. Due to the timeliness and the breadth of this particular area, I felt I had only scratched the surface by interning one day a week throughout the spring semester. In order to establish an evidentiary foundation for these fraudulent practices, I obtain information through several government databases to establish a pattern and practice of fraudulent activity for the above parties involved.
What I most enjoyed about it: You read the headlines on an almost daily basis about the sub-prime mortgage crisis, but by working at Brooklyn A in this department I was able to experience first-hand the impact of this crisis and what predatory lending practices involve, especially since the Department of Housing and Urban Development has designated East New York as the No. 1 “hot zone” of predatory lending. Meeting people who are affected by this first-hand obviously personalizes this crisis in a way I had not expected to encounter.
What I learned: Being able to interview a client one-on-one and explain to her what I was doing and why I was doing it was empowering. It was just a moment where you feel yourself transitioning from “law student” to “lawyer,” which hopefully every law student feels during their summer internship experience. Even performing tasks like filing papers at Brooklyn Supreme Court, or serving process on defendants in litigation was also fairly enlightening — you can read all about it in the text books or hear about it in class, but it’s a whole new ball game when you learn it while doing it.
Yvette A. Rosario, Class of 2010
What I did for the summer: I interned for the Hon. Diccia T. Pineda-Kirwan at the Civil Court in Queens County.
What I most enjoyed about it: Seeing a case from behind the bench, rather than before it. It opened my whole perspective of what the law is overall, and made me realize how I might want to start my legal career at the court at first.
What I learned: I learned how to draft decisions and orders on personal injury matters. I also learned how to conference cases with the judge’s court attorney before the case went in front of the judge.