By far one of the greatest ways USF Public Interest Law Foundation helps to make an impact in our community is by providing grants to USF Law students who choose to pursue unpaid summer legal work. This past summer, 25 remarkable students were selected to each receive grants of $4,000. We are proud to offer these grants through the generous donations we receive throughout the year as well as through several fundraising events sponsored by USF and PILF.
Our largest fundraising opportunity is the Annual PILF Gala and Auction. This year’s Gala and Auction takes place on November 4th. As the Auction draws nearer, we want to take a moment to introduce our most recent 2011 Summer Grantees in the Q&A’s below.
3L, Liat Blum Recounts Her Summer Spent At Housing and Economic Rights Advocates
Liat Blum is from San Anselmo, California and is a graduate of Barnard College, the women’s college at Columbia University in New York City. She spent her summer working for Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA), a non-profit legal service and advocacy organization dedicated to protecting all people from discrimination and economic abuses, especially in the realm of housing.
I wanted to attend a law school in the Bay Area with a strong focus on public interest law. Not only did USF appear to have many opportunities in this area but it also emanated a much warmer and more inviting feeling than other law schools that I visited. In addition I found that USF had fantastic professors and offered many clinical opportunities.
What kind of work did you do this summer, any project in particular?
I am researching and writing memoranda about novel issues of predatory lending, managing a high volume of calls from people on the verge of foreclosure, preparing educational materials for community outreach activities, and supporting attorneys involved in impact litigation.
What do you find most interesting/inspiring about the work you are doing or the organization you are working for?
Advocating against predatory lending is an unusual area of a law but a very timely issue given the recent mortgage crisis. The issues that arise within this type of work are constantly in flux and the attorneys are always on the lookout for new case law and new ways to advocate.
Are you interested in public interest legal work as a career? What sort of law would you like to practice?
Absolutely. That’s why I came to law school. Since participating in the Predatory Lending Clinic, externing with a bankruptcy practitioner and working at HERA, I’ve become more interested in making a career out of consumer protection and advocacy.