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Summer 2007 Public Interest Internships

Saturday, September 15, 2007  
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Many students have a keen interest in civil rights and took the internship class for excellent placements in that field. Robert Johnson, ’08, had an exceptional experience at The Leadership Conference for Civil Rights, working directly with Mr. Wade Henderson. Robert, who plans a career in politics, researched and analyzed various policy matters before Congress this summer, focusing on the immigration bill that ultimately failed passage.  Shanice Adams, ’08, worked for the D.C. Commission on Human Rights, a placement that helped her move toward her goal of being a civil rights attorney. The Commission investigates and processes complaints of unlawful discrimination and reviews and monitors all District affirmative action programs, among other responsibilities. Shanice took on significant responsibilities for reviewing and assessing a number of claims, honing her legal research and analytical abilities.
Samuel Kanupp, ’08, also plans a civil rights career. With a particular interest in employment discrimination, he benefited from a placement with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law. At the start of his internship, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Inc., giving Sam a unique opportunity to assist the Committee with in-depth research and analysis on this case and proposed strategies post-Ledbetter.
At the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Theo Casey, ’07, interned for Commissioner Stuart Ishimuru. His work included briefing the Commissioner on a number of matters. After relocating to California, Theo plans to pursue a career in employment law, and felt that this internship gave him relevant experience and exposure to the field, as well as contacts to help him obtain a position in California.
Alejandro Soto-Vigil, ’08, who serves as the Student Bar Association President for 2007-2008, was eager to learn about "whistleblower” laws and issues. Under the tutelage of his supervisor at the Government Accountability Clinic, Alejandro interviewed potential clients and researched their claims. This work, he says, will give him a good foundation for a public interest career when he returns to California.
Beth Zarkin ’08, who has a deep interest in family law, chose to intern with D.C. Superior Court Judge Fern Saddler.  Beth also did a great deal of research and writing, while learning about the often deeply emotional issues that pervade family law practice. Beth is interested in a post-graduate clerkship with the Court.
Like the spring 2007 semester, we had a judicial intern in the federal judiciary. Melissa Mathu ’08 interned for U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts. Melissa, who was placed with Judge Roberts through the Washington Bar Association’s Judicial Council intern initiative, focused her research and writing assignments on criminal law matters. Although Melissa, who plans to stay in the Washington D.C. area, has a special interest in tax law, she felt the internship was invaluable for the skills she was able to develop and the observations she made about courtroom procedures and practice.

Criminal law remains an area in which UDC-DCSL students take a special interest. Roseanne Chase and Scott Peary, both in the Class of 2008, chose the defense and prosecution, respectively. For "Rosie,” working at the Public Defender Office for the District of Columbia was "a dream come true.” Rosie represented juveniles who have been detained, building on her interest in juvenile justice. Rosie’s long-term career plans include returning to her home state of Maine and establishing a statewide public defender program.

Row 1 from left: Theo Casey, Sam Kanupp, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Suzanne Sable, Robert Johnson and Scott Peary.  Row 2: Kasey Dunton, ’08, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, ’08, and GAP Executive Director, Mark Cohen, ‘85.  Row 3: Melissa Mathu, ‘08. Row 4: That’s Robert Johnson again. Row 5: Prof. Bill Robinson and GWAC attorneys Andrea Ewart and Aliya Wong, the Director of Pension Policy for the US Chamber of Commerce. Row 6: Alejandro Soto-Vigil & Suzanne Sable. 

With a keen interest in prosecution, Scott chose a placement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, working in the major crimes division. In addition his research and writing assignments, Scott learned first-hand about the complexities of the criminal justice system and how he might best position himself for a satisfying legal career as an attorney in that field.

Finally, two students chose to work on Capitol Hill this summer. Yancey Burns ‘08, a West Virginia native, interned for U.S. Congressman Nick Rahall, (D-WV). Yancey, planning a career in politics back home, learned how a legislative office functions, handled research assignments on a broad variety of topics, and made invaluable contacts to help establish him in his profession after graduation.

Suzanne Sable ’08, who attended law school to pursue her passion for international affairs (and make use of her Japanese language fluency), interned for U.S. Congressman Sander Levin, (D-MI). Suzanne greatly impressed the office with both the quality of her work and her eagerness to learn. Her immediate post-graduate plans include an LL.M. in International Law.

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