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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Spotlight on 2012 Grantee, Luis Salas

Luis Salas was born in Hermosillo, Sonora (Mexico) and has been a resident of Tucson, Arizona for 18 years. He attended the University of Arizona as an undergraduate. This summer he is working at Immigration Equality.

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

I chose to apply to law school because I had always been interested in working with immigration issues (pro immigrant reforms) because of the fact that my family and I are immigrants and because I spent so much time living near the border inArizona. I also liked the idea that lawyers, through their training, have tangible skills that can be applied for social change. Some of the salient reasons why I chose to go to USF are its emphasis on public interest training, its commitment to having students for a wide range of backgrounds and its location in a thriving center for law, social change and cultural activities.

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

Immigration Equality is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free immigration services to LGBTI and HIV+ clients. I am helping represent clients with immigration defense claims, particularly with affirmative asylum petitions and defensive asylum claims.

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

The most inspiring thing about the work I am involved in is the clients. Because they are of LGBTI background and they often come from countries that are violently opposed to people with such characteristics, our clients demonstrate a lot of courage by living their life openly and having the wherewithal to come to the United States for legal assistance against persecution and at the same time speak out against human rights violations.

What would you like to do following law school?

After completing law school, I would ideally like to work as an immigration defense attorney in the legal services and impact litigation branches. Further, I would like to spend time working with underrepresented communities in Arizona and promote policy reform that is more germane to the interests of Latinos in that state.

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Spotlight on 2012 Grantee, Cassandra Jenecke

Cassandra Jenecke is originally from San Jose, CA. At age 10 she moved to Las Vegas and lived there until she went to college at Boston University. This summer she is working at The Pro Bono Project of Silicon Valley.

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

Location, Location, Location. I wanted to move back to California, specifically the Bay Area, and USF had a focus in public interest that drew me to apply and come once accepted.

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

I will be doing client intake interviews and then doing limited scope representations for clients in Domestic Violence Restraining Order hearings, and various family law hearings for things like child custody, visitation, and support.

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

This is the first time I have been able to engage in client intake interviews and having that sort of interaction is inspiring. The things our clients have been through and the perseverance they have is astounding and it is my privilege to help them in any way I am able.

What would you like to do following law school?

I would like to be a district attorney; however, if I were to focus in civil law, I would have my own family law practice.

 

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Spotlight on 2012 Grantee, Lauren Schweizer

Lauren Schweizer is originally from Connecticut. She attended the University of New Hampshire as an undergraduate. This summer she is working with the Office of the Public Defender in Santa Barbara.

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

I always wanted to be a lawyer, and USF has a great, supportive community and an emphasis on social causes.  I wasn’t sure what type of law I wanted to practice going into law school, but I knew that I wanted to use my degree to help others.  USF offers opportunities to do just that, as well as an excellent education.

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

As a law clerk, I assist the attorneys in researching their cases; this could mean writing a memo about 4th amendment violations, the competency of the defendant, or looking up an opposing expert witness. I am also handling some 1203.4 relief cases (expungement cases), where I contact the client, get their story, and write the motions for relief.  Then I work with an attorney to file the motions and they argue them before the judge.  Additionally, I get to watch trials and attend court doing arraignments, bail hearings, etc.  It is all very hands on, and I am learning a lot!

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

The public defenders inSanta Barbaraare all good lawyers, and they care very much about the cause and their clients.  I am inspired by how kind they are; to each other, to their clients, to me, and to everyone they interact with in the courtroom.  It clearly takes a special person to be a criminal defense attorney, and I hope I can live up to their high standards.

What would you like to do following law school?

Hopefully get a job as a public defender!

 

 

 

 

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Spotlight on 2012 Grantee, Vivian Valencia

Vivian Valencia is originally from Turlock located in the Central Valley of California. She attended Loyola Marymount University as an undergraduate. This summer she is working in the Misdemeanor Unit at the Office of the Federal Defender for the Eastern District of California.

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

I chose USF because it’s a Jesuit institution with a mission I believe in, it is closer to my family thanLos Angeles, and because the clinic programs – especially the Criminal Justice and Juvenile Justice Clinic – offer a unique and practical experience that other law schools don’t.

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

This summer I represented indigent clients charged with federal misdemeanors under the supervision of the Chief Assistant Federal Defender. I handled a case load which included appearing in court at various stages (arraignment to sentencing), doing legal research and writing, writing and arguing motions, conducting plea negotiations, doing investigation, and interviewing clients and witnesses, in Spanish, when necessary. I worked on cases with various issues including: fraud, disorderly conduct, expired or suspended licenses or vehicle registration, possession of illegal weapons, and theft. The best part was the hands-on experience and the opportunity to brainstorm with the other certified students and the Assistant Federal Defenders, who were always available to offer their tips.

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

I am most inspired by the dedication public defenders have to their clients. Through the endless obstacles they encounter, somehow they seem to get up in the morning and continue telling the stories of people who are often shunned in society.

What would you like to do following law school?

I would like to pursue a career in public defense after law school.

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Spotlight on 2012 Grantee, Holly Pearson

Holly Pearson is originally from Tiburon, CA. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara as an undergraduate. This summer she is working at the Cancer Legal Resource Center inLos Angeles.

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

I chose law school because I want the tools and knowledge to be able to help people in a visible, meaningful way. Knowledge is power, and I want to be able to educate those who are overwhelmed by the complexities of the legal system and do not know how to assert their rights or what rights they have in the first place. I chose USF because of its longstanding commitment to public service. I wanted to be surrounded by people dedicated to using the law to better the community.

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

CancerLegalResourceCenter (CLRC) is a joint program of theDisabilityRightsLegalCenter and Loyola Law School Los Angeles that provides free information and resources on cancer-related legal issues to thousands of callers nationwide every year. As a law clerk, I provide direct client services by interviewing callers, conducting legal research, and drafting correspondence to address each caller’s particular situation. Some of the substantive legal issues I focus on include employment discrimination, insurance, and estate planning. Additionally, I will be conducting research for CLRC, examining everything from cancer legislation to insurance appeals for cancer patients to Medicaid, as well as representing the organization at community events in theLos Angeles area.

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

CLRC attorneys work tirelessly to address the legal issues of every caller, from the initial intake interview to the final follow-up letter. The organization is committed to helping those affected by a cancer diagnosis in their greatest time of need. Each caller receives not only an explanation of the applicable laws and legal resources in their area, but also a listening ear. I have been blown away by how grateful our callers are just to have someone take the time to hear their story and give them the free, honest information they deserve.

What would you like to do following law school?

My aspirations for the future are constantly changing, but I hope to be involved in developing and strengthening medical-legal partnerships between attorneys and health care professionals.

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