This summer, 31 students from the New York area and beyond signed on for 10 weeks of practical legal experience as NYLAG summer interns. The students hail from 19 law schools, including Brooklyn, Buffalo, Cardozo, Columbia, Cornell, CUNY, Fordham, George Washington, Harvard, New York Law, NYU, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Stanford, UCLA, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, Washington University, and Yale. Three undergraduates, from Carleton College, Duke University and University of Arizona, also volunteered for the summer.

Each student was assigned an attorney to act as their mentor for the summer. Under the supervision of their mentors, interns meet with clients, conduct research, participate in legal clinics, and draft correspondence, petitions, motions and other legal documents. Some interns also engage in oral advocacy at administrative hearings, helping clients appeal denials of public assistance, food stamps or Social Security benefits.

NYLAG’s summer program also includes a 32-session training series designed to introduce students and others to poverty law, covering topics such as representing victims of domestic violence in family court proceedings; handling landlord/tenant disputes in housing court; and helping clients obtain Social Security, public assistance, and public health insurance benefits.

Maryann Tharappel, a law student from Brooklyn Law who is interning with the Immigrant Protection Unit, says of her experience at NYLAG, “I have gained great exposure to the issues that immigrants face by shadowing and receiving guidance from the supervising attorneys. I have learned how to tackle these problems head on. I have participated in a wide range of research that has not only expanded my breadth of knowledge regarding immigration law but also has served as a practical aid in how to address issues as they arise. The input and feedback from the attorneys is invaluable.”

Michael Cromer, a Fordham Law Student and General Legal Services intern, shared Tharappel’s appreciation for the relationship between NYLAG’s attorneys and the summer interns. Cromer says, “Right from the start, the attorneys throw you in the mix and allow you to work on real cases. The best part about working at NYLAG is that whether you are researching, writing a memo, or speaking to clients, the attorneys are always happy to help. The experience I have gained at NYLAG will be extremely beneficial as I continue in my legal career.”