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.
PILF’S Co-Chair, Amy Leifur, Opens Up About Her Summer Spent Helping Pro-Se Litigants Represent Themselves In Court.
Amy Leifur grew up in Camarillo, California, but has lived in San Francisco since 2004. She attended San Francisco State University as an undergraduate. This summer she worked for the Superior Court of California for the City and County of San Francisco in the ACCESS Center.
Why did you choose law school, and why USF in particular?
I have always loved the law and advocacy in general. I chose USF because of the support that USF provides for its students. I felt at home from the moment I stepped foot on the campus and have enjoyed the commodore and community of USF. It is a truly unique experience to attend a law school that cares so much about their students and supports their aspirations and goals, wherever those paths may take them.
What kind of work did you do this summer or what type of projects did you work on?
At the ACCESS Center I assisted pro-se litigants represent themselves in court. In addition to assisting the center’s customers I did several, regular research projects for the center regarding applicable and changing law that would affect our customers and the procedure of the court. For example, I worked on researching a newly passed California law that will require the reviewing court to grant a hearing to applicants for domestic violence and civil harassment restraining orders. Previously, the court had the discretion to limit these hearings to only applicants that were also granted a temporary restraining order.
What did you find most interesting or inspiring about the work you did or the organization you worked for?
The customers that the ACCESS Center serves were definitely the most interesting and inspiring part of my work with the Superior Court. They came from all walks of life with all kinds of interesting stories. Most of the litigants that we assisted were low-income and without our help would not be able to have adequate or appropriate access to the courts. We worked with them through the paperwork and the process of the justice system and prepared for their day in court.
Are you interested in public interest legal work as a career? What sort of law would you like to practice?
I plan on having a career as a public interest trial lawyer. I am not sure exactly what area I will focus on for my career but I have definitely committed myself to trial advocacy; being my clients voice and representative in the courtroom.