Student Interns Give and Receive at NYLAG
NYLAG’s staff grew substantially this summer, with the addition of 35 student interns working full-time for ten weeks from late-May to early August. Students came from law schools in the New York area and beyond, including Brooklyn, Cardozo, UC Berkeley, CUNY, Harvard, Michigan, NYU, New York Law, Pace, Penn, St. John’s and Yale. Five undergraduate students from Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Penn, Princeton and Vassar also volunteered for the summer.
Each student was assigned an attorney to act as a supervisor and mentor. After an orientation, students spent their time meeting with clients, conducting research, participating in legal clinics, going to court, and drafting correspondence, petitions, motions, and other legal documents. Some interns also engaged in oral advocacy at administrative hearings, helping clients appeal denials of public assistance, food stamps or Social Security benefits.
Kyle Dandelet, a law student from Penn who interned with the Special Litigation Unit said, “I sharpened my research, writing, and advocacy skills, and developed a more sophisticated understanding of legal procedure. I also became passionate about the issues NYLAG undertakes, serving to reaffirm my commitment to a career in public interest.”
NYLAG’s summer program also included a 26-session training series designed to introduce students to poverty law, covering topics such as representing victims of domestic violence in Family Offense proceedings and child custody cases; handling landlord/tenant disputes in housing court; and helping clients obtain Social Security, public assistance, and public health insurance benefits.
A panel of NYLAG attorneys also conducted a session on ethical issues that can arise in civil legal services work. In addition, staff attorneys held brown bag lunches to discuss the clerkship and fellowship application process, as well as how to incorporate pro bono work into private practice, which was led by NYLAG Board Member Scott Musoff of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. The interns and staff also enjoyed spending time together at several social events, including happy hours, a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game, and an afternoon picnic in Central Park.
Margo Hoppin, a law student from NYU who interned with LegalHealth said, “I came in knowing very little, and left feeling effective and useful when working with a client. Everyone I worked with was always willing to help, supervise and include me in their cases. I couldn’t have asked for a more stimulating or friendly environment in which to start learning how to be a lawyer.”
NYLAG also wishes to thank the law firms of McKee Nelson LLP, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, and White & Case LLP, who sent summer associates to spend a portion of their summer volunteering in our office.