Grantee of the Week: Lizette Perez

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This summer, I’m interning at CARECEN (Central American Resource Center), in Los Angeles. CARECEN, as an organization, promotes social justice initiatives such as education reform, immigration reform, and youth programs. It also provides low-cost direct immigration services to the immigrant community in Los Angeles. As a legal intern, I will be working with undocumented clients, that were victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes, in obtaining immigration relief via a U-Visa or a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petition.  I’m very much looking forward to helping people adjust their immigration status because of the life altering effects that come with removing the barrier to basic rights like education, employment, health care and migration/relocation, that a lack of immigration status often represents.

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Grantee of the Week: Amelia Anderson

PILF_grantee_AmeliaThis summer I am working at Legal Services for Children (LSC). LSC is an incredible organization that represents youth in dependency, guardianship, immigration, and education proceedings.  Their staff includes both attorneys and social workers, this helps to ensure that clients receive holistic assistance. Although I mainly focus on dependency and immigration cases, I get exposure to all areas of their practice by preforming bilingual in-take over their “warm line” every week. I primarily work with immigrant and citizen children who have suffered abuse, abandonment, or neglect. This work includes: conducting intake interviews, preparing immigration applications, preforming legal research, drafting declarations and pleadings, and attending court. Working with LSC has been an amazing experience thus far and I am grateful to PILF for helping to make this possible!

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Grantee of the Week: Rahul Balaram

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This summer I am working as a Certified Law Clerk with the Alameda Public Defender. In assisting the attorneys of the office in the defense of indigent clients, I am able to argue motions, conduct client intake interviews, both in office and in custody, and work in the misdemeanor calendar department to ensure that indigent clients are properly represented to the extent of the law. The experience I am gaining is invaluable to my career path, from speaking and working with passionate attorneys to being able to appear on behalf of clients, and I am excited and proud to be involved in public interest law.

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Grantee of the Week: Shannon Belsheim

 

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This summer I will be interning as a certified law student at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. Conducting prosecutions for public offenses, detecting crime, and investigating criminal activity is the central point of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. I have been placed in the preliminary hearing department at the Airport Branch Courthouse. As a certified law student, I will be conducting routine felony preliminary hearings and misdemeanor prosecutions under a supervising attorney. In addition, I will be researching and drafting legal memorandums and motions pertaining to relevant criminal procedural issues. Focusing on courtroom trial skills and improving my legal research and drafting skills will equip me with the necessary skills to be a fair and effective prosecutor.

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Grantee of the Week: Nicole Griffin

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This summer I am going to have the opportunity to work at AIDS Legal Referral Panel.  ALRP assists persons in the San Francisco Bay Area living with HIV/AIDS by providing them with free and low-cost legal aid. They assist on nearly any civil matter ranging from housing, immigration, employment, insurance, confidentiality matters, family law, public accommodations and more.   ALRP is committed to doing their part in the fight against HIV/AIDS and they truly care about the people they help.   I will be working with ALRP wonderful Client Services staff and their volunteer Panel of attorneys to facilitate solutions to client’s legal problems.  I will be conducting interviews and providing consultation and making referrals in many areas of civil law. I am very excited for this meaningful opportunity!

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Board Applications Available Now

PILF Board Positions – Applications Due Sunday at 5pm

There are a total of seven positions students can apply for on the 2014-2015 PILF Board: Alumni Auction Coordinator (2), Events Chair, Web & Media Design, 2L Rep, 3L Rep, and On-Campus Auction Coordinator. To view descriptions of these positions, visit: http://wordpress.usfpilf.org/board/position-descriptions/

This application is due by 5 PM on Sunday, April 20th, 2014.  Please fill out an online application via the following link:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1IV8ygtBJBF_NB9dnkzk-TenI5win2cRpjLzHstIoZ3c/viewform

Interviews will be held April 21 – 23. Please sign-up for an interview on the Google-doc signup herehttps://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1N6KYInIl1uQSrE8BF89vAJg8NEw7OqyiRg2ywukNEhk/edit#g

Applicants will be notified of the decisions via e-mail Thursday the 24th by 5 PM.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the PILF Co-Chairs at usfpilfchairs@gmail.com.

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Public Interest Job Opportunity in New York

Students can now apply for the 2013-2015 Class of HPD-HDC Housing Fellows. This highly competitive program brings recent graduates of masters and law school programs for a two-year series of placements at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development and the NYC Housing Development Corporation.

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 1st, 2013.  Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

To learn more about the program and download the materials, please click here.

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Grantee of the Week: Nephtalí Josip Gonzales

Nephtalí Josip Gonzales is from East Lansing, Michigan.  He earned a BA from Michigan State University in 2002 and an MBA from San Francisco State University in 2010.  This past summer he worked at Instituto Laboral de la Raza.

Why did you choose law school, and why USF in particular?

Helping people in need has always given me warm and fuzzy feelings all over. Although I do not know exactly which area of law I will focus on, I am confident that as a lawyer my contribution will be impactful to whichever community, or communities, I decide to dedicate myself to.
I have lived in San Francisco since 2006, and was thrilled about my acceptance to the University of San Francisco. Throughout my time in the City, I have met many lovely people associated not just with the School of Law, but the University as a whole. It is an honor to attend the University of San Francisco School of Law.

What kind of work did you do this summer or what type of projects did you work on?
This summer I worked at the Instituto Laboral de la Raza. We helped low-income persons with employment problems. The bulk of our clients came to us seeking to obtain unpaid wages. We also provided assistance for workers compensation claims, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims. The majority of our clients were Latinos representing various professions within the construction and service industries.
I helped at every step along the process: I conducted intake interviews, prepared and filed claims with the Labor Commission, sent demand letters to employers, accompanied clients to hearings/conferences before the Commission, and sat in on settlement negotiations between our clients and their employers.

What did you find most inspiring about the work you did?
It is difficult to say what was most inspiring about my internship. I find it very impressive that the Instituto does not turn any clients away, and that the Executive Director, Sarah Shaker, works at the Instituto seven days a week.
I was thrilled to know that I was fighting the good fight. The Instituto is a champion for humble people trying to get what they are owed, both legally and morally. It feels good to be able to help people who come in ready to help themselves get what is rightfully theirs.
What would you like to do following law school?
I would like to continue fighting on behalf of the forces of good. Life experiences have led me to have a very special place in my heart for people suffering poor treatment. I am still uncertain about which exact area of law I will work in, but I look forward to working hard on behalf of underserved populations.

 

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Spotlight on 2012 Grantee, Alicia Kauk

Alicia Kauk grew up in Petaluma.  She attended the University of California, Berkeley as an undergraduate. This past summer she worked at the East Bay Community Law Center.

Why did you choose law school, and why USF in particular?

I attended law school to pursue work as a social servant and to uphold the rights of low-income, marginalized populations. I chose University of San Francisco School of Law because of the school’s strong sense of community and commitment to public interest law.

What kind of work did you do this summer or what type of projects did you work on?

I worked at East Bay Community Law Center, a nationally recognized poverty law clinic that provides free legal services to low-income Alameda County residents. Specifically, I served as a law clerk in the Health Unit. I assisted in providing holistic legal services to low-income HIV-positive clients and low-income families referred to us by medical providers at Children’s Hospital Oakland. My caseload included preparing for hearings to appeal disability benefits denials, advocating for General Assistance, CalWORKS, Food Stamps, Medi-Cal and other benefits programs, and providing legal trainings for medical providers and community members.

What did you find most inspiring about the work you did or the organization you worked for?

I was inspired by the unwavering commitment of the attorneys in the Health Unit at EBCLC. The attorneys zealously advocate for the HIV/AIDS community and low-income families who otherwise would be unable to assert their rights in the U.S. legal system. I was inspired by their selfless dedication to the public interest field.

What would you like to do following law school?

After law school, I aspire to become a public interest attorney with particular emphasis in upholding low-income health rights and disability rights. Eventually, I hope to work on health policy reform to ensure that all individuals have an equal right to attaining good health and to accessing the U.S. health care system.

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Spotlight on 2012 Grantee, Vinuta Purushottam Naik

Vinuta Purushottam Naik is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She attended the University of Georgia as an undergraduate. This past summer she worked at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office

 

Why did you choose law school, and why USF in particular?
Former first lady Rosalynn Carter addressed my University community and encouraged everyone to stand up for those who are voiceless and to help marginalized individuals.  I had always wanted to help marginalized people and her message inspired me to go to law school to pursue a career as a public defender.  I chose USF because of their commitment to public interest law and the various resources they offered their students.

 

What kind of work did you do this summer or what type of projects did you work on?
This past summer I worked part time with the Collaborative Courts in Drug Court and part time with a felony litigation attorney. For Drug Court, I worked on memos to the Drug Court judge highlighting effective evidence-based practices that would benefit our clients.  I also worked on a project to find out where clients with immigrant holds (ICE holds) were being detained for purposes of reporting back to the local court.  In addition, I updated all the client files so that we would have an electronic database that we could work off of.

 

Working with the felony attorney involved more trial preparation.  I transcribed client interviews, attended a case conference where we discussed strategies and theories to develop our defense, and wrote a 995 motion to dismiss counts of an indictment.  I researched case law to support the motion and to exclude some evidence.  I also attended preliminary hearings and took notes so that I could help better assist my attorney with the case. In addition, I discussed cases with my attorney so that we were able to develop theories together for her preparation of the cases.

 

What do you find most inspiring about the work you are doing or the organization you are working for?

The San Francisco Public Defender’s Office works with indigent clients who are minorities, immigrants, homeless, and/or mentally ill.  From personal and work experiences, I understand clients’ needs and desire to be heard.  I have always striven to ensure that every client and individual I work with is treated as an individual so that their voice is heard. I wish to zealously represent my clients and ensure their rights are enforced.  I chose to work for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office because the attorneys always strive to treat everyone with the utmost respect and dignity while thoroughly representing the clients.

 

What would you like to do following law school?

I would love to work as a Public Defender helping defend indigent and marginalized individuals.

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