Students Working in Public Service Summer Jobs to Receive $357,900 in Grants

2015 PILA Grantees

Cherice L. Lawson, Kate Perino, Alvin Williams, Elizabeth Douglas, and Justin Wilson are five of the 84 students who will receive grants to work in public service this summer. (More)

Posted May 1, 2015

The University of Virginia School of Law and the student-run Public Interest Law Association are funding 84 students who will work in public service this summer through grants totaling $357,900. For the second year in a row, every student who applied and qualified for the funding is receiving a grant.

The PILA grants — $3,500 for first-year students and $6,000 for second-years — offer qualifying students an opportunity to explore a wide range of public service careers, including with the government, nonprofits, legal aid organizations, and prosecutors' and public defenders' offices. The funding is "crucial" for students seeking experience in the public sector, said PILA President Reedy Swanson '16.

"They provide support for students who have no other way to get by over the summer," Swanson said. "There are very few paid public service legal internships available, especially for first-year students. First-year internships are important for students to give them the experience they need to make them attractive candidates for positions down the line."

He added that the grants also encourage students to recognize the importance of giving back.

"Many people will have their first experience in a public interest position through a PILA grant," Swanson said. "For a lot of people, that can be a life-altering experience. Even if they go into private employment down the line, they will be more active pro bono partners or doing community service projects because they saw how rewarding the work they got to do on their PILA grant was."

PILA partners with the Law School Foundation to help fund grantees. Student members of PILA conduct fundraising events throughout the year to raise money for the grants, and recipients are required to donate 20 hours back to the organization to help raise funds for next year's grantees. The two largest fundraising events are the annual PILA auction and the book sale, the latter of which was held twice this year.

In order to be considered for a grant, students must have also completed pro bono hours and have secured a qualifying public service position. The 58 first-year and 26 second-year law students who received grants this year volunteered an average of 65 pro bono hours during law school.

 $357,900

Last year, the Law School put approximately $3.3 million toward public service–related programs such as PILA, the Program in Law and Public Serviceexternshipspostgraduate fellowships and the Virginia Loan Forgiveness Program, to assist students who want to pursue careers in the public service or nonprofit sectors.

Here's a snapshot of what a few of this year's PILA fellows are doing. (Full list)

Elizabeth DouglasElizabeth Douglas '17

Hometown: Harvard, Massachusetts

College/education: Haverford College

Summer job: Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, Washington, D.C.

What she'll be doing: I will be assisting attorneys with various legal issues related to economic crime enforcement. This will include researching answers to novel legal questions, drafting litigation-related documents and contributing to policy proposals.

Goals: I hope to be able to participate in a variety of legal matters and see the work done in a federal agency. I am excited to interact with federal prosecutors and be able to assist in their work.

Cherice L. LawsonCherice L. Lawson '16

Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

College/education: University of Maryland, College Park

Summer job: Council for Children's Rights, Charlotte, North Carolina

What she'll be doing: As a member of the Children's Defense Team, I will be assisting attorneys and social workers who are representing children charged with committing criminal offenses or are committed to a psychiatric treatment facility. I will interview clients, conduct legal research and represent youth in court with my third-year practice certificate.

Goals: I have a strong interest in criminal law and family law. My passion is working with children. I want to provide legal representation to at-risk youth whether they are children in the foster care system or youth involved in the juvenile justice system. This summer, I will have the opportunity to work with attorneys who represent children in a variety of legal matters, including education, abuse and neglect, health and mental health, custody and juvenile justice.
 

Kate PerinoKate Perino '16

Hometown: Gaithersburg, Maryland

College: Tufts University

Summer job: Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking Program, Brooklyn, New York

What she'll be doing: As an intern with the Anti-Trafficking Program, I will represent survivors of human trafficking in civil and immigration matters, as well as providing support for clients involved in criminal investigations.

Goals: My goal is to be a human rights lawyer. I hope to practice internationally at some point in my career, whether with a nonprofit or a governmental agency.
 

Alvin WilliamsAlvin Williams '17

Hometown: I am from Miami, Florida, but I have lived all over following graduation from college, as I was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

College/education: University of Florida, Gainesville

Summer job: Orange County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, Orange, Virginia.

What he'll be doing: My main responsibilities this summer will be performing legal research in support of ongoing cases, writing and assisting prosecutors with motions and briefs, observing the court and familiarizing myself with Virginia criminal law.

Goals: My overall goal for attending law school is to become a prosecutor, and this internship will further this goal by giving me experience that is directly relevant. 
 

Justin WilsonJustin Wilson '16

Hometown: North Canton, Ohio

College/education: Kent State University

Summer job: Harris County District Attorney's Office, Houston, Texas

What he'll be doing: I will participate in all stages of the prosecution process, including motions, jury selection, research and writing, and victim and witness interviews. The most important part will be my ability to take part in actual trials by using my third-year practice certificate.

Goals: District attorney's offices look for a lot of practical experience, specifically actual trial experience. I hope to be able to develop oral advocacy and other necessary skills for my future career as a prosecutor.
 

PILA Grant Employers, Summer 2015

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau Washington, D.C.
Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission Washington, D.C.
Federal Trade Commission Office of International Affairs Washington, D.C.
Small Business Administration, Office of the General Council Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California Los Angeles, California
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California Los Angeles, California
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona Phoenix, Arizona
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maine Portland, Maine
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri St. Louis, Missouri
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California San Francisco, California
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York New York, New York
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York New York, New York
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York, Criminal Division New York, New York
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri Kansas City, Missouri
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia Harrisonburg, Virginia
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Chief Counsel Arlington, Virginia
U.S. Department of Justice (split summer) Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Appellate Division Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Federal Programs Branch Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Federal Tort Claims Act Litigation Section Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, National Courts Section Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Organized Crime and Gang Section Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Administrative Law Judges Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of the Interior Washington, D.C.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2 New York, New York
U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps Washington, D.C.
U.S. Trade Representative, Office of General Counsel Washington, D.C.
INTERNATIONAL
International Finance Corporation Sao Paulo, Brazil
International Finance Corporation Washington, D.C.
LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT (INCLUDING PROSECUTION)
Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office Charlottesville, Virginia
Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office Charlottesville, Virginia
Arlington County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office Arlington, Virginia
Brooklyn District Attorney's Office New York, New York
California Office of the Attorney General, Natural Resources Law Los Angeles, California
Harris County District Attorney's Office Houston, Texas
Los Angeles City Attorney's Office Los Angeles, California
Maryland Attorney General, Opinions and Advice Division Baltimore, Maryland
Nashville District Attorney's Office, Family Violence Division Nashville, Tennessee
Orange County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office Orange, Virginia
Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office New Orleans, Louisiana
Prince George's County Office of the State's Attorney Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney's Office Richmond, Virginia
San Francisco Office of the City Attorney San Francisco, California
Texas Attorney General Austin, Texas
NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence Washington, D.C.
Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (split summer) Charlottesville, Virginia
Colorado Legal Services, Collaborative ID Project Denver, Colorado
Community Legal Services Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Council for Children's Rights Charlotte, North Carolina
Defenders of Wildlife Washington, D.C.
EarthJustice San Francisco, California
EarthRights International Washington, D.C.
Electronic Privacy Information Center Washington, D.C.
Institute for Justice Arlington, Virginia
Legal Aid Justice Center Charlottesville, Virginia
Legal Aid Justice Center Richmond, Virginia
Legal Aid Justice Center, Civil Advocacy and JustChildren Programs Charlottesville, Virginia
Legal Aid Justice Center, Civil Advocacy Program Charlottesville, Virginia
Legal Aid Justice Center, Civil Advocacy Program Charlottesville, Virginia
Legal Aid of the District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
Legal Aid Society of Roanoke Valley Roanoke, Virginia
National LGBTQ Task Force Washington, D.C.
Natural Resources Defense Council Washington, D.C.
New Haven Legal Assistance Association New Haven, Connecticut
New York Civil Liberties Union, Advocacy Department New York, New York
New York Legal Assistance Group New York, New York
Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking Program New York, New York
Southern Environmental Law Center Charlottesville, Virginia
Street Law  Silver Spring, Maryland
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts New York, New York
Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs Washington, D.C.
PUBLIC DEFENDERS
Alexandria Public Defender's Office Alexandria, Virginia
Charlottesville-Albemarle Public Defender’s Office  Charlottesville, Virginia
Colorado State Public Defender's Office Denver, Colorado
Fredericksburg Public Defender's Office Fredericksburg, Virginia
Fredericksburg Public Defender's Office Fredericksburg, Virginia
Mecklenburg County Public Defender's Office Charlotte, North Carolina
Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, Trial Division Washington, D.C.
San Francisco Public Defender's Office San Francisco, California

 

 

Related Links: Where PILA Grantees Worked

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