Past Clerkship Recipients
- Jamie Crawford
I served my PILG clerkship in the Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia is an internationalized tribunal, created by a joint effort between the international legal community and the government of Cambodia, to bring to justice the perpetrators of mass atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. I worked with the judges and legal officers to analyze documentary and testimonial evidence in order to draft a final judgment in Case 002/1, brought against the surviving senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge.
My experience in the Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia was an example of just how incredible a summer internship can be. I’ve was able to participate in a trial that will have a very real impact on Cambodia and the future of international criminal law. I was also able to connect with a number of attorneys with fascinating backgrounds from all over the world. I was given a glimpse into what it would be like to have a legal career abroad, and what it might be like to work for the United Nations. Just living in Cambodia for the summer was a constant adventure and opportunity for growth. This internship experience was exactly the chance I was looking for to challenge myself personally and professionally, to explore a career in international law, and to see a little bit more of the world.
- Logan Mussman
This summer I worked on cases in which juveniles were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. I was working at the Arizona Justice Project and we worked to get the Miller v. Alabama decision applied retroactively. This Supreme Court decision holds that LWOP for juveniles is unconstitutional but language is unclear in terms of the retroactivity of the decision. One of the clients that we worked with has spent nearly 50 years in prison for a conviction that occured when he was 15. Through my work I helped on the cases of over 60 prisoners who were sentenced as juveniles to life without the possibility of parole in Arizona. The battle to get this Miller v. Alabama applied retroactivley to these prisoners is ongoing but the PILG Clerkship allowed me to give hope to many people.
- Zoey Tanner
I spent my summer at the Colorado Prison Law Project. The Colorado Prison Law Project (CPLP) is a non-profit civil rights firm that represents prisoners housed in the Colorado Department of Corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. CPLP advocates for prisoners both informally and through litigation in civil matters, like getting access to adequate medical care, getting out of solitary confinement, and ensuring prisoners are treated in a humane manner. As an intern, I corresponded with clients and wrote informal advocacy letters to prison wardens and other corrections officials. I also conducted legal research and participated in many client interviews.
Working at CPLP provided me with valuable insight into the plights prisoners face in their everyday lives because of corrections policies and practices. I developed a love for working with this population, and a passion for civil rights work. I believe my understanding of the criminal justice system was greatly enhanced by seeing what happens to people after they are sentenced to prison. I also developed a close relationship with my supervisor, and developed an understanding of what working with a nonprofit firm means. I am so grateful to PILG and all of the auction donors for giving me this opportunity.
- Samantha Bainbridge
Samantha will be working with Community Legal Aid (CLA) in Worcester, Massachusetts advocating for indigent clients with emotional and physical disabilities. She will engage in substantive case handling as well as community outreach in the areas of Social Security benefits and housing discrimination. By handling cases from intake all the way to representation at the hearing level, Samantha will act as a resource allowing CLA to assist more clients.
- Lauren Blevins
Lauren will be working with the Spanish Speaking Lawyers Committee (SSLC) of the Colorado Bar Association to identify, develop, and broaden Spanish legal resources. The SSLC provides the only general legal Spanish speaking outreach in high needs communities such as Greely, Pueblo, and Ft. Morgan. Lauren will be expanding the SSLC’s legal rights brochure program by creating new informational brochures on legal rights to be circulated throughout the communities. She will be assisting with free legal clinics by translating for clients and updating and expanding the informational resources for volunteer attorneys. She will also assist with other SSLC projects, such as creating a “Spanish for Lawyers” CLE curriculum.
- John Chase
John will clerk in the Denver office of the National MS Society, an organization that works to create a world without multiple sclerosis. The society helps fund cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education, and provides programs and services
that help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. This summer, John will be researching and drafting form documents that are needed for the society’s various fundraising events. He will also be researching the policy side of the non-profit organization to help the organization achieve future success in its legislative initiatives.
- Mary Dewey
Mary will clerk at Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Clinic (JAMLAC) in Denver. JAMLAC provides full representation to low-income clients in civil cases, focusing on victims of domestic violence in Denver’s immigrant communities. Mary will set up a case management system to track immigration visa applications. This will prepare JAMLAC to assist undocumented victims of violence in filing permanent residency applications. Mary will also set up a volunteer database that will equip JAMLAC to coordinate attorneys who offer free legal consultations at mobile clinics throughout the Denver area. Through these capacity-building projects at JAMLAC, Mary’s goal is to improve access to civil legal representation for underserved communities in Denver.
- Jaime Menegus
Jaime will be working at Institute Mosintuwu, a women’s school on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. The Poso region in Sulawesi experienced a violent communal conflict from 1998-2008. The conflict was framed as a religious one but was actually based largely on land and natural resource rights and violations. Mosintuwu was founded by a Poso resident who, while studying for her Masters in Theology, had lived among victims of the conflict in IDP camps. There she learned the true story of the conflict –and the lengths both Muslim and Christian women in Poso had gone to protect each other and their families from violence. The women’s school was founded to initiate interfaith dialogue and bring out the true story of the conflict. Its multi-tiered program has moved from dialogue to training that has empowered women both in their homes and their communities. Now, as the women are becoming more involved in community organizing, they are in need of training about the Indonesian legal system, in particular environmental law, and how they can access this system. Jaime will create a curriculum, and partner with local legal aid workers to teach it at the school and to help the women access the traditional and formal legal networks in their region. She will also work with YLBHI, Legal Aid Indonesia, at the Poso branch, assisting in case work, particularly in a class action lawsuit brought by one of the villages against an energy company infringing on their land rights. The women from Mosintuwu will accompany the village through the suit.
- Constance Moylan
Constance will work with State Senator Irene Aguilar on drafting Omnibus Bills on Domestic/Family Violence and Residential Rental Rights and Remedies. Her goal is to craft
legislative bills that would incorporate holistic legal approaches to Domestic Violence based on the Pennsylvania Model and European Advocates. Issues under review include Mandatory Arrest; protecting victims from secondary loss of jobs (such as when they must testify in court or are too injured to work); and consolidation of services from many government agencies. Specific policy goals under consideration include bills to compensate for harm by state actors; integrating language from the InterAmerican Human Rights Council cases to draft legislation; and mandatory judicial training on Domestic Violence.
- Bryan Neihart
Bryan will clerk at the Becket Fund in Washington, D.C. The Becket Fund is a public interest law firm dedicated exclusively to the preservation of the right to religious freedom domestically and internationally. This summer, Bryan will focus on several of the Becket Fund’s international projects. He will be researching and writing about laws and trends affecting religious liberty such as defamation and refugee laws. Additionally, Bryan will help the Becket Fund develop a training curriculum to educate indigenous lawyers, journalists, diplomats, and advocates on the right of religious freedom.
- Allison Sperling
Allison will clerk for the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR works to ensure equal access to education and promotes educational excellence through the enforcement of civil rights laws. This summer, Allison will create educational outreach presentations on how educational institutions can lawfully pursue voluntary policies to achieve
diversity; the requirements schools must meet to ensure equal access to the educational benefits afforded by emerging technologies; and the Title IX regulatory requirements applicable to the nondiscriminatory treatment of pregnant students. OCR will use these presentations nationwide to educate parents, schools, and students about their rights.
- Tseada Berhanu
Tseada will clerk for the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA), an organization that works to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and to ensure equal access to education, employment, public services and benefits. This summer, Tseada will assist victims of gender-based violence through EWLA’s Legal Aid Program. Tseada will also conduct legal research that EWLA will use for advocacy and public education. Tseada’s Ethiopian heritage and passion for gender equality makes her a credible advocate in the six regions of Ethopia where she will conduct EWLA trainings and workshops.
- Christina Brown
Christina will clerk at the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) in Portland, Maine. ILAP is the only non-profit organization that provides affordable legal services to the non-citizen population in Maine. This summer, Christina will work with ILAP to create a comprehensive reference document regarding the immigration consequences of criminal convictions in Maine for non-citizens. ILAP will use this guide for community and attorney education. Christina’s project will help ILAP serve as a stronger advocate for the immigrant community in Maine.
- Joe Doyle
Joe will clerk for the Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Clinic (JAMLAC) in Denver. This summer, Joe will write a policies and procedures manual that will guide JAMLAC’s practitioners, inform its clients, and support its grant applications. The ultimate goal of Joe’s project is to help JAMLAC implement best industry practices and improve the quality of service to its clients. Joe will also assist with day-to-day operations at JAMLAC, assisting with other research and educational needs throughout his summer clerkship.
- Brianna Evans
Brianna will clerk with Bay Area Legal Aid (BALA). BALA is the largest provider of free civil legal services to low-income families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The firm focuses on four program areas: domestic violence prevention, housing preservation, access to health care, and economic security. Approximately one quarter of the organization’s current clients speak Spanish as their first language and more than 70% of the organization’s immigration clients are Spanish speaking. Brianna will work with Spanish speaking clients, specifically survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, to provide language interpretation, as well as to provide support for case assessment and case research.
- Katy Hartigan
Katy will clerk at La Asociación Nuestros Ahijados (ANA), a non-profit organization based near Antigua, Guatemala. This summer, Katy will assist ANA in building a Domestic Violence Legal Aid Program. She will work with Guatemalan attorneys to prosecute domestic violence crimes, assist ANA in developing its legal aid program model, identify funding sources, and educate women on their rights as victims. Additionally, Katy will work with ANA to urge politicians and community leaders to enact legislation that protects women from gender-based violent crimes.
- Jeffrey John
JJ will clerk at GrowHaus, a unique, nonprofit indoor farm located in Denver’s Elyria-Swansea neighborhood. GrowHaus’s mission is to create a year-round community food system, local market, and educational center to produce healthy and affordable food, and to raise awareness about food justice and sustainability. This summer, JJ will create a legal handbook outlining policies and laws on urban agriculture that will support the organization’s legal transactions and regulatory compliance. Driven by principles of equal human rights and social justice, GrowHaus embodies public interest values that will have a lasting effect on both the local community and JJ’s legal career.
- Maha Kamal
Maha will clerk at two non-profit legal clinics in Toronto, Ontario, Canada: The South Asia Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO) and the Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic (BSCC). Both clinics focus on women’s rights and domestic violence cases in the Greater Toronto Area. This summer, Maha will work with SALCO, BSCC, and other domestic violence services to help establish an independent evaluation committee to track the effectiveness of the new Integrated Domestic Violence Court of Ontario. Additionally, Maha will develop resource guides for BSCC and SALCO, focused on Canadian immigrant, family, and criminal law.
- Katie Stevenson
Katie will clerk at the South Texas Civil Rights Project (STCRP), an agency located in San Juan, along the U.S.-Mexico border, in the poorest county in Texas. The underlying mission of STCRP is to promote racial, social, and economic justice through impact litigation as well as community organizing and education. STCRP works primarily with low-income members of the community to address civil rights violations, which include, but are not limited to, disability rights, migrant workers’ rights and prisoners’ rights. STCRP also serves immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who are seeking protection under the Violence Against Women Act.
- Mahlon Wigton
Mahlon will clerk at Sensible Colorado, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote effective drug policies through research and public education. Sensible Colorado’s clients include medical marijuana patients, students who have been denied federal financial aid, and families who been evicted from public housing or denied food stamps due to drug convictions. Mahlon will conduct legal research and engage in outreach around a planned statewide ballot initiative. His outreach will be focused on coalition building and, to build support, he will research and design literature on electoral law, constitutional issues, and criminal law.
- Dustin Charapata & Sean Marsh
Dustin and Sean will work on a collaborative clerkship this summer that will establish an operational framework for Veteran’s Legal Services of Denver (VLSD). The mission of VLSD is to provide legal assistance and referral services to veterans. This summer, Dustin and Sean will build a shareable database of local and national veterans services. They will focus on active recruitment of area lawyers who can make themselves available to assist veteran clients, and will add attorney profiles, including expertise, availability, and experience, to the VLSD database. Because both Dustin and Sean are veterans, their experience and passion to assist other veterans makes them well suited to carry out the unique duties of their clerkships.
- Rachel Armstrong
Rachel worked with Legacy Land Trust in Fort Collins, Colorado to help build a community-based strategy to protect more agricultural lands with conservation easements. Good food builds a healthy community and vibrant culture. When we enable communities to keep farmers and ranchers on the richest soils, we build our shared strength. Farming and ranching is a vital part of our heritage and one that continues to shape our sense of what it means to live in Colorado. Using conservation easements to protect agricultural lands ensures that both urban and rural residents have the choice to grow food for themselves and their neighbors. Legacy Land Trust creates management plans for farmed parcels to boost yield, minimize water usage, and identify local markets for their products.
Rachel helped Legacy Land Trust identify the best mechanisms to accomplish their goals. Beginning by talking with the farming community, Rachel delved deeper into the legal issues that hinder conservation easements from addressing the unique needs of agricultural lands. Rachel then offered strategy recommendations to ensure the continued preservation of rich soils for local food production.
- Kristi Disney
Kristi worked at Sustainable Development Strategies Group (SDSG), based in Gunnison, Colorado. SDSG projects emphasize the impact of mineral and other natural resource development on poverty, subsistence livelihoods, ecosystems on which indigenous and local communities rely, and potential for improved living conditions in areas where minerals are developed.
Kristi worked with SDSG to support development of a Model Mineral Development Agreement (MMDA). The MMDA, a project of the International Bar Association (IBA), included development of a web-based tool composed of model clauses for mineral development agreements between mining companies and host states. The MMDA, rooted in sustainable development principles, offers opportunities for developing countries and indigenous communities to protect their interests while providing a legitimate framework for investors through increased investment transparency and anti-corruption initiatives. Kristi’s work on the MMDA included incorporating civil society input and preparing the agreement for public use.
Kristi also worked on SDSG capacity-building programs, including assisting a foreign government with mining investment management, and preparing presentation and lecture materials related to sustainable development.
Luke Danielson, SDSG’s President and Principal Investigator, supervised Kristi’s clerkship. Mr. Danielson is known locally and globally for his leadership in mineral resources and international law.
- Michelle Doherty
Michelle worked as an intern with the Migrant Farm Worker Division (MFWD) of Colorado Legal Services. MFWD is the only nongovernmental organization in Colorado that addresses legal rights of migrant farm workers. Farm workers face obstacles in accessing legal services, including language barriers, geographic and cultural isolation, lack of knowledge about their rights, and fear of retaliation by employers. Michelle worked with a passionate and talented team at MFWD, addressing migrant farm worker needs and working to reduce the vulnerability of this historically exploited population.
Michelle directed most of her efforts toward an educational outreach campaign for migrant farm workers about workplace violence and sexual harassment. This bilingual program provided farm workers and their service providers with information about their rights, MFWD contact information, and the opportunity to identify potential problems workers might face. Michelle also created dynamic audio-visual materials to educate and inform through mass media and know-your-rights workshops. Other responsibilities included legal research and writing related to current litigation and informal advocacy on behalf of workers concerning wages, working conditions (including human trafficking), housing, and immigration.
- James Henderson
James worked with International Justice Mission (IJM) at their field office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. IJM is a human rights agency committed to fighting human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent abuse in developing countries. Cambodia has a significant problem with the commercial sex industry, one that disproportionately affects Cambodia’s Vietnamese population. This issue is exacerbated by a weak judicial system, which has not been able to effectively prosecuted traffickers. IJM worked alongside the Cambodian government to investigate trafficking cases, prosecute the offenders, and provide aftercare for victims.
James assisted IJM in three ways. First, James developed a curriculum for Cambodian lawyers on how to handle trafficking cases. Second, James worked on evidence collection and record keeping with the organization’s newly hired staff of Cambodian nationals. Finally, James developed office protocols for managing individual trafficking cases from start to finish. This included administrative details and record keeping, as well as procedures for working alongside the organization’s investigation and aftercare teams. Through these projects, James helped IJM manage its tremendous caseload, while acquiring first-hand knowledge of how a human rights agency works to achieve positive social change.
- Travis LaSalle
Travis used his PILG Clerkship funds to continue work he began in Kenya through the Center for International Human Rights Law and Advocacy. His primary mission was to advocate for an indigenous tribe in Northern Kenya called the Samburu who currently have no legal representation. In 2009, the Kenyan federal police initiated a continuing pattern of brutal attacks on the Samburu under the guise of a “disarmament process.” While the Samburu agreed to give up their weapons peacefully, the police continued the devastating attacks. These attacks resulted in killings, beatings, arson, theft, and rape.
While in Kenya, Travis met directly with the Samburu, established contacts with Kenyan lawyers and NGOs, worked directly with government agencies, and gathered as much information as possible. His goal was to halt these operations by initiating the legal process and to file a claim with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, in the hopes of attaining a legal precedent that will protect the Samburu as well as other indigenous peoples in Africa.
The second part of his work in Kenya involved aiding a new legal clinic for people with disabilities. The Center recently secured a $50,000 grant for this disabilities clinic. Travis determined if there was anything the Center for International Human Rights Law could do to help the Clinic be sustainable and successful.
- Suzanne Lieberman
Suzanne clerked at WildEarth Guardians (“Guardians”). Guardians works mostly locally and regionally to “protect and restore wildlife, wild rivers and wild places in the American West.” Unlike most environmental organizations, the species Guardians protects range from “charismatic megafauna” to minor fauna and flora: i.e. Sperm whale, wolves, and scarlet macaw to small fish and rare plants, all integral to keeping natural systems intact.
Suzanne’s work involved litigation and legislative reform, primarily under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), for “large carnivores,” i.e. small-to-large wild felids and canids. In focusing on species implicated in the zoo and captive animal trades, Suzanne attempted to expand Guardians‘ work with international species and apply those lessons to local ecosystems.
Suzanne chose to focus on wild captive species and noncaptive carnivores because they involve a great intersection of her personal interests: international conservation, animal rights, criminal prosecution, and public education. Suzanne conducted legal and factual research to prepare ESA listing petitions and complaints for ESA lawsuits. Suzanne also lobbied legislators on state and federal levels for a new campaign against inhumane, scientifically-unsound predator control in the West.
- Charles Nicolas
Nigeria is a tremendously resource rich country, yet its 150 million people are among the poorest in the world. During the 50 years since oil was discovered in the Niger Delta, more than US$400 billion in oil revenue is missing from the Nigerian economy. The Nigerian government acknowledges these funds were stolen by the powerful political elite rather than benefiting the Nigerian people as mandated by the Nigerian Constitution.
With the help of the PILG Clerkship, Charles will complete a Communication to the African Commission on Human and People’ Rights alleging the Nigerian government’s violation of the Nigerian people’s social and economic rights under the African Charter through government theft of proceeds from oil extraction. The drafting phase of the Communication began after more than a year of research by a team of law students in the Center for International Human Rights Law and Advocacy, under the direction of Robert Golten. The PILG Clerkship allowed Charles to personally present the Communication to partner NGOs in Lagos, Nigeria, and spend a month working directly with the Nigerian human rights legal community to refine and sharpen the Communication prior to submitting it to the Commission in the Gambia.
- Jennifer Purrington
Jennifer worked for Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) in Portland, Oregon. DRO is a non-profit, public interest law firm that works to help people with disabilities of all ages in the areas of self-advocacy, investigation of abuse and neglect, legal representation, and policy. DRO also works to ensure the availability of community support, healthcare, employment, and safety and rights in institutions. DRO focuses on the legal rights of people with disabilities, serving many individuals each year free of charge.
Jennifer’s responsibilities at DRO included covering a caseload of clients with disabilities under the supervision of other attorneys within the organization. Jennifer was also involved with ongoing projects regarding institutions, nursing homes, and group homes. Additionally, Jennifer worked on legal research regarding disability law and will assisted with a present case against a school district. Jennifer’s experience in special education enhanced her ability to assist DRO. During her externship at DRO, Jennifer gained extensive knowledge regarding disability law and policy.
- Courtney Tudi
Courtney worked at the African Community Center (ACC), a voluntary agency that aids in the resettlement of refugees. The ACC works with individual refugees to obtain the necessary legal documents to begin their lives in the United States. Courtney’s responsibilities were to assist refugees in the initial process of resettlement. Courtney worked under the supervision of an ACC pro bono immigration attorney.
The ACC is overwhelmed by a legal need that they struggle to meet with only one attorney working a few hours a week. Courtney helped to lighten this attorney’s workload, and expanded the number of clients the organization was able to assist. Courtney was also responsible for helping refugees fill out paperwork, such as the affidavits needed for family reunification. Courtney learned from the stories of the refugees that she meet, while alleviating some of the stress the organization and its clients face due to lack of legal aid.
- Kristine Walentik
Kristine used her PILG Clerkship to implement the Rocky Mountain Immigration Advocacy Network (RMIAN) Library Project. The 2009 Detention Standards state “facilities holding INS detainees shall permit detainees access to a law library, and provide legal materials, facilities, equipment and document copying privileges, and the opportunity to prepare legal documents.” While the GEO/ICE facility is the main detention facility housing detainees for Immigration & Customs Enforcement in Colorado and Wyoming, the library at the facility contains materials that are outdated.
Access to legal materials is necessary for immigration detainees because, unlike defendants in the criminal justice system, individuals in immigration removal proceedings do not have a right to free legal assistance, despite the severe consequences of deportation. As a result, over 90% of the men and women in immigration detention must face an adversarial court process without a lawyer. Because RMIAN and its volunteer attorneys are not able to represent every detainee who cannot hire a private attorney, it is necessary that they have access to legal materials that will assist them in representing themselves pro se.
Kristine’s project aimed to create a user-friendly law library that meets the legal needs of detainees. Kristine coordinated donations of legal resources and created public relations materials to educate individuals and businesses about the hardships of immigration detention.
- Erica Woodruff
Erica used her clerkship to work for Alaska Legal Services Corporation in Anchorage. Alaska Legal Services is the only organization in Alaska that provides free civil legal assistance to low-income Alaskans. The organization also provides free legal clinics for indigent clients to learn about their rights in particular areas of law, such as landlord-tenant disputes.
Erica worked specifically with the Children At Risk project, which aims to reduce homelessness by providing legal assistance to Alaskan families in the areas of housing, consumer protection, public benefits and family law. Erica’s main responsibilities were interviewing incoming clients for eligibility, researching legal issues, and writing memoranda, letters and pleadings for the attorneys. Given Alaska’s high rate of domestic violence against women, Erica also worked to organize a self-defense clinic for Alaskan women, where participants could learn self-defense techniques from volunteer instructors. Erica enjoyed helping low-income Alaskans and exploring Alaska in her free time.
- Courtney Ellis Dinnel
Courtney split her summer between two internships. The first internship was in conjunction with the European Roma Refugee Center (ERRC). The EERC advocates for ethnic minority Romani people throughout Europe. During the 1999 Kosovo war, 180 Roma families were removed to refugee camps. The camps are located in close proximity to toxic lead tailings and the Romas have been subjected to lethal lead poisoning for the past ten years. About 80 Roma have died from the poisoning, numerous children have been born deformed or miscarried. Despite awareness of the situation, the international community has failed to take the matter seriously. Only one man (with others remotely weighing in) worked directly with this Roma group, and Courtney joined his work for a summer. Courtney helped develop a plan to (1) evacuate Roma from the perilous camps; (2) get immediate medical treatment to help save their lives; and (3) research legal remedies for the victims.
For the second internship, Courtney worked with the Public Defenders office in Denver to help create immigration/criminal law policy. The intersection between criminal law and immigration law has grown significantly in recent years and embodies an area of specialization that is increasingly important for attorneys who plan to practice either criminal defense or immigration law. The Colorado Public Defender’s Office represents more than 100,000 indigent people a year with between 10,000 and 15,000 of those with immigration issues as well. Courtney’s internship focused on research and analysis of the collateral immigration consequences that may flow from contact with the criminal justice system, as well as the development of specific materials to assist criminal defense lawyers in fulfilling their burden to advise noncitizen clients of such consequences.
- Petula Fernandes
Petula worked on two different projects at the Rocky Mountain Survivor Center. The first project was to assist in the representation of an asylum applicant in immigration court, with the goal of gaining legal status for the applicant in the United States. Petula’s other project was to create a community outreach program to educate people on the do’s and don’ts of the legal system, including the dangers of having a “notario” or other non-attorney fill out the immigration paperwork for asylum seekers.
Petula also worked to educate the community on the dangers of manipulating the system so that asylum seekers can get food stamps or welfare benefits improperly. Improper immigration advice has become a huge problem as many people are denied asylum because of simple mistakes on their application. They then have to go through an appeals process that requires more time and effort on their part as well as a delay in receiving benefits, such as work authorization. This adds unnecessary stress to already stressful lives. Sometimes this ill advice comes from “notarios,” or people who represent themselves as lawyers while having no legal degree. Other times, this advice comes from community members who want to help the asylum petitioner, but do not realize how precise and accurate the information they provide must be.
Petula’s main responsibility was to outreach to different ethnic groups and mutual assistance associations so that she could give presentations to those who are most closely associated with people who may be seeking asylum. Her goal was to have an independent group composed of former clients and members of the ethnic communities set up by the end of the summer to go out to the community and give regular presentations on the dangers of notario fraud.
Petula created greater awareness about the immigration system in the United States and greater awareness about the dangers of notarios and incomplete information on asylum forms, in hopes to reduce the number of people who are denied asylum in the United States because of a simple mistake on their forms.
Petula is interested in working with international and human rights issues. Petula sees public interest law as a way to help bring social change whether in the legal community or in educating the public about the injustices in our country and world. By working at RMSC Petula was able to serve a population who desperately needed help, while continuing to explore her career path.
- Ann Houston
Ann worked for the Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC) in Anchorage, Alaska. The mission of ALSC is to “reduce the legal consequences of poverty while promoting family, social, and economic stability by upholding the rule of law.”? ALSC provides free legal assistance to low-income populations in civil proceedings. The typical clientele are low-income Alaska citizens (annual income under $16,250 for family of one) who need legal representation but cannot afford it.
Ann spent the majority of her time working with cases related to domestic violence. Alaska has the highest rates of domestic violence in the United States and there is a pressing need for legal assistance for victims of these crimes. Her responsibilities included completing client intakes, assisting with community outreach events, and writing legal documents including memoranda, letters, and pleadings. Ann was able to expand the amount of clients that ALSC was be able to serve through the provision of an extra set of hands, and the ability to streamline intake and community outreach processes. Anne advanced her non-profit legal experience while simultaneously serving a population that desperately needed assistance.
- Josh Kappel
Ira Glasser, the former Executive Director of the ACLU, wrote that drug prohibition is the last instance of legalized racial discrimination in America. However, despite the institutionalized injustice of the war on drugs, no major political party will voluntarily touch the issue. The fearful disregard of this injustice has left a giant legal need in the realm of drug policy reform.
Josh, under the supervision of Brian Vicente and Sensible Colorado, had the unique opportunity of being a campaign manager for a local drug policy reform initiative campaign in the summer of 2009. Josh was involved in every aspect of running a successful initiative campaign including researching local election and criminal law, writing legislation, fundraising, lobbying, volunteer management, press outreach, and other campaign duties. This clerkship gave Josh valuable experience enacting local change at the community level that will greatly benefit his career in public interest law.
- Lisi Owen
Lisi worked at the Prisoners’ Rights Project of Legal Aid of New York. The Prisoners’ Rights Project has advocated for over thirty years for humane and constitutional conditions in New York City jails and New York state prisons. Through federal civil rights litigation, the PRP addresses a number of issues that inmates face, including correctional officer brutality, sexual abuse of women prisoners, adequacy of medical care, and denial of education services.
- Amy Bruins
Amy worked for the International Commission of Missing Persons (ICMP) in the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This nationally based commission just received new DNA technology. She worked on the exhumation of the mass gravesites – documenting and collecting evidence, and used that evidence in collaboration with witness testimony to make cases against people suspected of committing genocide. Additionally, she worked with ICMP to further develop policy in their war crimes tribunal unit.
- Julia Scott
Julia clerked for Magistrate K.J. Moore and Judge Brian Boatright in the Juvenile division of Jefferson County District Court. She worked on two programs: Model Family Court and Mental Health Court. Model Family Court is a brand new program that began during Julia’s clerkship and deals solely with dependency and neglect cases where drugs are involved. This program hopes to remedy some of the problems that are inherent in the standard process for dependency and neglect cases. The overall goal of the program is to keep the children involved in these cases with their families and out of foster care. Julia’s primary responsibility with the Model Family Court was assisting Magistrate Moore by conducting legal research, meeting with the various agencies involved, monitoring court proceedings, researching other similar programs in the State, and meeting with the attorneys, case workers and probation officers involved.
The second program that Julia worked on, the Mental Health Court, deals with all of the juvenile cases that involve mental health issues. The Mental Health Court has been successful, but those involved are trying to find ways to improve what they are doing. Therefore, Julia was responsible for evaluating the program through interviews with the families, children, and providers involved. She also spent time observing the Court to help evaluate this program’s effectiveness.
- Heather Skrypek
Heather worked with the People’s Law Project. The PLP is a collective of activists, lawyers, and students who worked to protect the First Amendment from potential violations during the 2008 Democratic National Convention (DNC) held in Denver, Colorado. She assisted with the launch and incorporation of this new non-profit. Heather was responsible for drafting grant proposals and “Know Your Rights” pamphlets; she also composed briefs based on her research of First and Fourth Amendment issues. She interviewed clients and prepared witnesses for trial as well as attended criminal trials and prepared pre-trial motions. As the student intern liaison, Heather aided the transition of new interns into the PLP intern program. This gave her the opportunity to teach others the skills she acquired by working at the PLP during the spring.
- Kate Williams
Center for Native Ecosystems is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to conserving and recovering endangered species and ecosystems in the Greater Southern Rockies and Plains. CNE values the clean water, fresh air, sources of food and medicine, and recreational opportunities provided by native biological diversity. In furtherance of these values, CNE uses the best available science to forward this mission through participation in policy, administrative processes, legal action, public outreach and education. Because CNE does not have any lawyers on staff, Kate provided research and analysis on a variety of legal issues to coincide with CNE campaigns. Specifically, one project was to evaluate the legal aspect of the campaign to protect habitat for sensitive wildlife from oil and gas drilling impacts in the West.
- Megan Berry
Megan worked at the Women’s Legal Center in Cape Town, South Africa. The Women’s Legal Center conducts litigation and advocacy, free of charge, to promote and strengthen women’s rights in South Africa. The WLC focuses primarily on assisting low-income, black African women in the areas of health care, education, family law, property and housing, reproductive rights, domestic violence and employment. The work in which the WLC is engaged is crucial to establishing and developing precedent case law and legislation based on the new, post-apartheid system of government. Because this system is just over ten years old, the legal foundational framework for true gender equality is still being set; it is important that those whose voices have historically gone unheard get heard now in the early stages of development. Megan assisted WLC staff attorneys by researching national and international law, drafting memos and reports, and participating in workshops and trainings for other organizations and activists engaged in similar endeavors.
- Bryony Heise
Bryony worked with the legal director for the Center for Indigenous Rights in Oaxaca, Mexico. The mission of the organization is to promote and defend the exercise of human rights among the Indigenous people of Oaxaca through education, filing formal complaints with the government, providing legal assistance in cases of human rights violations, and focusing public attention on the injustices endured by the people of Oaxaca. Bryony also be implemented a self-designed presentation geared towards Central American immigrants coming up through Oaxaca City on their way to the United States, as well as for the indigenous people in the surrounding communities of Oaxaca who plan to migrate. The presentations contained instructional information on the laws of the United States, including immigration law, criminal law, housing law, and employment law and benefits.
- Kristin Knudson
Kristin worked with SafeHouse Denver, a non-profit organization that provides support and assistance to victims of domestic abuse. SafeHouse Denver already has an active legal program that aids victims in resolving immigration issues to help them become independent and secure. Kristin worked to expand the legal program to include assistance to victims with family and criminal law issues. Resolving these issues is essential to victims’ ability to take control of their lives. Kristin underwent research to determine which services are necessary and feasible to include in the expanded legal program, and best practices to implement and provide those services. SafeHouse now coordinates with other organizations and firms to provide pro bono legal assistance.
- Katharine Speer
Katharine worked at the Rocky Mountain Survivors Center, which was founded in 1996 as a service center for refugees, asylum seekers and their families. The clients of RMSC have suffered torture in their home countries and cannot return for fear of further persecution. Because RMSC believes that it takes a community to heal the trauma of torture, clients receive a combination of legal, social and medical services according to their needs. Clients are also encouraged act as mentors, helping new arrivals adjust to life in Denver. As a member of the legal team, Katharine assisted individual victims of torture and persecution as they traverse the difficult and confusing process of applying for asylum.
- Lucia Williams
Lucia conducted her clerkship at Socorro: Legal Services for Immigrant Women and Children. Socorro is a Colorado non-profit that assists immigrant-victims of human trafficking, domestic abuse, abandonment, and persecution by providing legal assistance, and increasing public awareness through education, outreach and research. Lucia prepared affirmative applications to be filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, attended all removal hearings with the managing attorney, and assisted with legal research on issues involving immigration law, criminal law, family law, and any other areas in which the client needed assistance. She also conducted client interviews and correspondence.
- Kate Black
Kate worked at the Gulf Region Advocacy Center (GRACE), a non-profit law office dedicated to serving indigent clients in Texas and Louisiana who face capital murder charges. Based in Houston, Kate conducted research and investigation in preparation for two capital trials. Kate’s legal work included drafting pretrial motions, preparing witnesses for trial, collecting documents and drafting appeals during the direct appeals process. The opportunity reaffirmed Kate’s commitment to serving indigent clients charged with capital crimes.
- Brea Burgie
Brea worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Washington, D.C., at its regional office for the United States and the Caribbean. UNHCR works to protect the rights of refugees, monitoring each nation’s compliance with its treaty obligations to refugees. It does so by working with government officials in each nation to pass legislation and implement existing laws for the benefit of refugees, as well as provide resources and legal assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers, and their attorneys. During her time at UNHCR, Brea answered hotline calls from asylum-seekers and refugees, providing resources and confirming overseas refugee status determinations. She researched the legality of prosecuting asylum-seekers in the United States, while networking with federal public defenders nation-wide to investigate occurrences of such prosecutions. Brea also conducted a study on stateless individuals in detention in the United States to be used for further advocacy on that population’s behalf.
- Jennifer Eyl
Jennifer worked at the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA), CCASA is an umbrella organization that is the collective voice for sexual assault survivors and their supporters. At CCASA, Jennifer was the chair of the organization’s Public Policy Committee and completed nationwide research on public policy issues including statutory rape, statutes of limitations for sexual abuse of children, and the Prisoner Rape Elimination Act. As a result, during the 2007 state legislative session CCASA advocated to extend Colorado’s civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse of a child and to codify prisoner rape protections in the Colorado Revised Statutes.
- Kristin Krietemeyer
Kristin worked for attorney Michael Wulfsohn, a Court-Appointed Guardian ad litem in Arapahoe County District Court. Guardian ad litem attorneys work to represent the best interests of children in the court system. They represent children both in juvenile delinquency cases as well as dependency and neglect cases. The work involves getting to know the child and the child’s situation, developing a successful treatment plan for the child, and ultimately recommending to the court what is best for the child. Kristin assisted in making such recommendations by interviewing children and families, attending court appearances and meetings with other service providers, researching, and drafting reports and motions. The experience was a great opportunity to observe all of the interacting roles that affect children’s cases, and it reinforced Kristin’s passion to advocate for children in the legal system.
- Stephanie Suzanne
Stephanie worked with several Women’s Health Clinics in Guatemala City, Guatemala to help establish a legal component for victims of violence. Stephanie created a legal process manual and a resource bank so that these clinics could provide their clients with a smooth, uninhibited process from the first medical exam to the judge’s sentencing of a penalty on the abusing party. Guatemalan law requires a victim of violence to pass through several steps before being able to exact justice. These steps were being carried out in isolation from one another, making the road to justice a disjointed and very ineffective one. Stephanie was able to assist the legal needs of the victims through helping establish collaboration between the clinics.
- Nicole M. Dennis
Nicole worked at the Denver and Aurora branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The organization represents the legal and political rights of minority and los-income people throughout metro Denver and its surrounding areas. Current issues that the Denver and Aurora chapters have been working on include combating housing discrimination, employment discrimination, and legislation that promotes inequality.
Nicole assisted the legal redress committee in the investigation of civil rights and discrimination complaints, coordinated and conducted client interviews, and researched various legal issues pertinent to clients’ cases. Nicole also prepared memoranda and recommendations that were reviewed by the National Legal Affairs department of the NAACP headquarters in Washington, D.C.
- Aaron Einhorn
Aaron worked in Costa Rica for an organization called The Latin American Institute of the United Nations on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Delinquents (ILANUD). ILANUD is charged with training judges, high-ranking government officials, law professors, and NGOs on the rights of women in Latin American and Caribbean countries. The organization hopes that this training will secure rights that women are guaranteed on paper through domestic legislation and international treaties, but that are not protected in practice.
Aaron translated a manual on domestic violence from Spanish into English for use by countries such as Belize and Jamaica. This manual is to be used by judges, government officials, lawyers, and NGOs in order to understand the scope of women’s rights and to advocate for enforcement of those rights. Aaron also researched and wrote a report on gender inequality in Latin America that NGOs and lawyers can use to promote women’s rights.
- Missy Fiebelkorn
Missy, a former DNA analyst, worked at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo, Bosnia. The ICMP is an independent organization that was created in 1996 following the G-7 summit to facilitate post-conflict resolution. The ICMP’s responsibilities include the exhumation, identification, notification and burial of persons missing as a result of genocide and crimes against humanity. The existence of large numbers of missing persons is often an impediment to post-conflict peace and resolution, and this type of work helps prevent retaliation and aids in the healing process.
As an intern, Missy assisted the Deputy Chief of Staff of the ICMP. She conducted legal research on codifying state law into international law and proper preparation techniques for legal files containing biological evidence for international courts. She also worked on creating a plan of action regarding ICMP’s eventual expansion into Iraq.
- Michelle Petrotta
Michelle collaborated with the Center for Legal Action for Human rights, an organization that promotes and defends the civil, political, economic, cultural, social and environmental rights in the construction of peace and democracy in Guatemala. Her work included the observation of human rights in the maquilas and the organization of the data observed to be used in policy advocacy and judicial proceedings, as well as client intake dealing with labor rights violations, and the production of documents to be used in legal trainings provided to the maquila workers.
- Katie Potter
Katie worked at the Community Mediation Center of Southeastern Virginia, which provides general and family mediation services in its offices, as well as in local courts. The Center also specializes in violence prevention, conflict resolution, and mediation training, and it offers much of this training in local school, shelters, and community centers.
Katie received mediation training, served as a court liaison and co-mediator, researched restorative justice programs throughout the country, and, based upon her research, created a manual and documents for use by practitioners and courts that are engaged in new Victim/Offender Mediation Programs (VORP). She also helped to organize a coalition of lawyers and mediators who will go on to receive training in Collaborative Lawyering, and she facilitated a community dialogue on waste water treatment options for the Eastern shore.
- Matt Slaby
Matt worked at el Centro Humanitario, which offers a safe, indoor place where workers can gather each day while they seek work. The staff identifies workers’ unique skills, enters their information into a database, and advertises the availability of day laborers throughout the community. Employers hire workers for temporary, daily , and full-time employment. El Centro’s staff helps employers identify dependable workers, assists in resolving difficulties between employer and employee, and insures that all workers receive fair and agreed upon wages with no fees to employers. El Centro’s primary clients are immigrant workers from Mexico, Central and South America; however, the services are available to any worker seeking day labor.
El Centro challenges misconceptions about immigrants by empowering workers. From a basic human rights position, El Centro advocates that immigrant laborers should be protected as workers regardless of their documentation status. The center organizes for fair wages and basic right protections and has also established several programs aimed at educating workers, promoting progressive legislation, offering recourse for labor disputes (which come primarily in the form of wage claims), and offering specialized classes for women.
- Billie Baysore
Billie worked for the Association for the Defense and Development of Women in El Salvador. The women she worked with were training other women on ways to confront, end, or escape from the violence in their lives (whether domestic or the continuing effects of the civil war that ended in 1991). This work included providing trainings and workshops in rural areas, accompanying women to domestic violence related hearings with the prosecutor, and planning for a national conference to discuss the concerns of women in El Salvador.
- Colleen Breslin
Colleen worked with Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University (BICU) in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. With PILG’s financial support and the technical support of DU’s Human Rights Advocacy Center, Colleen traveled to Nicaragua and worked with BICU’s underdeveloped but growing legal clinic. She assisted students in client representation around issues of child support, domestic violence, and criminal law. Additionally, Colleen worked with BICU’s administration and community leaders to explore the possibility of expanding the clinic’s capacity to include representation around indigenous land rights issues.
- Antoinette Gifford
Antoinette worked for the Color of Justice, Inc. (COJ), a legal advocacy nonprofit organization that works with communities of color toward social justice. The new organization’s mission is to work in collaboration with individuals and organizations to ensure the fair and equitable participation of communities of color in the judicial and political process through education, public policy advocacy, and legal representation. Antoinette participated in all aspects of the organization; she wrote national and local grant proposals to obtain funding and organized a community town hall meeting to address the Mayor, Denver Manager of Safety, and the Denver Police Department regarding the Frank Labato shooting in July 2004. Antoinette also had the opportunity to write and edit a Community Police Oversight Recommendation proposal to distribute to the Denver City council board members advocating for communities of color.
- Angela Hunt
Angela worked for the Pro Bono Immigration Project at SafeHouse Denver as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence. She worked in cooperation with community immigration attorneys in order to gain legal status for survivors through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), “U” Visas, or I-751’s. She also worked to expand the immigration project by encouraging additional law students and community attorneys to volunteer their time.
- Bridget McCann
Bridget worked at The Center’s Legal Initiatives Project (CLIP), a program of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado. CLIP brings impact litigation to advance and protect GLBT rights in Colorado and promotes GLBT-friendly public policies. Bridget’s primary task as a PILG clerk was to conduct legal outreach to the GLBT and legal communities in Colorado. Bridget made presentations focusing on GLBT rights to GLBT community members, PFLAG (Parents, Family and friends of Lesbians and Gays) members, religious leaders and attorneys in towns throughout Colorado. She wrote and published articles highlighting CLIP’s work in many local bar association newsletters, bringing the legal needs of Colorado’s GLBT citizens to the attention of hundreds of Colorado lawyers. Bridget also helped staff CLIP’s legal hotline, referring callers to GLBT-friendly attorneys and screening cases for possible direct representation by CLIP.
- Mary Walsh
Mary worked at the Legal Center in the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program. PAIMI is a program designed to protect individuals with mental illness in various facilities against abuse, neglect and other rights violations. Mary’s work in the program included traveling across Colorado to provide educational outreach to staff at hospitals, jails, and community centers about the rights of individuals with mental illness, researching issues centered on the rights of individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system and advocating on behalf of individuals with mental illness.
- Rachel Witman
Rachel worked at the Legal Center for People with Disabilities on the HIB/AIDS Legal Project. Rachel created and HIV/AIDS Legal handbook for HIV positive Colorado citizens. This handbook involved areas of law including confidentiality, housing, employment, insurance, bankruptcy, family law, immigration, public benefits and wills. In addition, a resource section includes HIV testing sites throughout Colorado, legal services available throughout the state, and national organizations. This handbook will be translated into Spanish and distributed throughout Colorado, free of charge to those in need. With the legal information given in the handbook, many HIV positive Colorado citizens without any legal resources will now know their legal rights and what steps to take when those rights are violated. Rachel also worked with two attorneys on legal cases in housing and employment discrimination. In addition, Rachel helped to organize a team for the annual Denver AIDS walk and helped raise donations for the walk.