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Pathways to Practice Exemplars

Civil Rights and Equality Pathway

Dalton Collins

Dalton Collins, ‘15
Women’s Resiliency and Reentry Project, University Legal Services

With a resume of hands-on legal experience serving the District's poor, I graduated from UDC David A. Clarke School of Law in May 2015 with my current legal fellowship waiting for me.

Dalton interned with Tammy Seltzer, ’96, at the Jail and Prison Advocacy Project at University Legal Services during the summer following his 1L year. Due to his excellent work for her, and his overall success in law school, Tammy hired him back after he graduated and took the July bar examination.

"My law school experience was essentially a training ground for this position. During my first semester, I completed UDC’s 40 hour community service requirement by volunteering as a legal staffer for the Election Protection hotline, which is a non-partisan voter rights call center conducted by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. After my first summer at University Legal Services, I was a research assistant for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights working on a project to address human trafficking in the DC area with the District of Columbia State Advisory Committee. After that, I interned in the Public Benefits Division at AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly assisting low-income DC residents who are 60 or older access public benefits. Next, I completed nearly 400 hours in the UDC HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic where I argued before an Administrative Law Judge at the Social Security Administration's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review and successfully secured approximately $17,000 in back pay of disability benefits and the maximum monthly benefit for the remainder of the client's life. Continuing to work on the interaction of criminal justice and social benefits, I then participated in the Criminal Defense Clinic, successfully winning an adjudication of one client through motions practice and then successfully obtaining a pretrial diversion for another client. The capstone of my law school experience was a third year internship at Bread for the City where I engaged in the areas of family, landlord-tenant, and public benefits law for indigent residents of the District.“


Immigration Law and Human Rights Pathway

Julia Pham

Julia Pham, ‘15
Associate Attorney, WMR Immigration Law Group

Working in the Immigration Law and Human Rights Clinic was the best experience of my law school career. I received excellent instruction and guidance from knowledgeable professors, and I was taught the exact skills that I use every day as an immigration attorney.

Community Service Project: In her first year, she interned with the Coalition to Abolish Modern Day Slavery in Asia, editing testimonials for submission with asylum applications.

Externships & Clerkships: Julia worked as a research assistant and later as a law clerk at Lawyers Against Human Trafficking. Her research culminated in two publications: one with the University of Pennsylvania’s Journal of Law and Social Change (2014), and the other with the Washington University Global Studies Law Review (Spring 2016). She interned with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, where she researched the disproportionate number of LGBTQ homeless youth being trafficked into DC. She then completed a summer externship with the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review (Immigration Court in Baltimore). In her last year, she gained experience by clerking at a private firm working on visa petitions, asylum cases, and waivers.

Clinics: Immigration and Human Rights Clinic & HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic

Of Interest: Julia serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Boat People SOS, a national non-profit org whose mission is to "empower, organize, and equip Vietnamese individuals and communities in their pursuit of liberty and dignity.”


Family and Juvenile Law Pathway

Jennifer Laskin

Jennifer Laskin, ’15
Educational Advocate, Prince George’s County Public Defenders Office

During my three years as a full-time student, I integrated previous experience as a teacher and community advocate, focusing on the intersection of education and juvenile law to invoke educational rights and stem the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

Community Service Project: Ayuda

Post-1L Summer Public Interest Fellowship: Legal Aid agency in California

Post-2L Summer Internship: Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth

Clinics: Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic & Housing and Consumer Law Clinic

Leadership: Executive Board of Student Bar Association, National Lawyers Guild UDC-DCSL Chapter, and Latino Law Student Association


Solo and Law Firm Practice Pathway

Alex Smith

Alex Smith, ’15
Law Clerk, Detling & Cole LLC

I met my future employer, Chuck Detling, ’04, at a School of Law alumni event during my first year at UDC. He hired me as a paid intern that summer to work for his Marietta, Georgia small firm. We stayed in touch, and he hired me again after graduation!

Community Service Project: Took Crowell Institute for At-Risk Youth

Post-1L Summer Internship: Detling & Cole, LLC, Marietta, Georgia

Post-2L Summer Public Interest Fellowship: Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic

Clinics: Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic & Housing and Consumer Law Clinic

Of Interest: With the addition of Alex, Detling & Cole, LLC, now has boasts four UDC Law alumni: founding partner, Chuck Detling, ’04, Mackenzie Cole, ’12, and David Ivey, ’98.


Criminal Law Pathway

Julia Rupert

Julia Rupert, ‘14
Assistant State’s Attorney, Prince George’s County, MD

UDC-DCSL’s emphasis on clinical legal education prepared me not only for the intellectual challenges of being an attorney, but for the professional and ethical challenges that arise in the workplace, as well.

Served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Nicholas E. Rattal of the Prince George’s County Circuit Court in Upper Marlboro, Maryland after graduation.

Post-1L Summer Public Interest Fellowship: US Attorney's Office in DC

Academic Externship: Rule 16 Student Prosecutor in the Prince George's County State’s Attorney’s Office

Clinics: Housing and Consumer Law Clinic & Immigration and Human Rights Clinic

Of Interest: Julia served as Editor-in-Chief of the UDC Law Review


General Transactional Law Practice Pathway

Sherman Taylor

Sherman Taylor, ‘14
Tax Manager, Aiken and Company, P.C.

I love my job! I have always enjoyed tax and came to DCSL in part due to the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. My experience at UDC definitely prepared me for success in this position.

Community Service Project: USDA Black Farmers Settlement Project

Summer Public Interest Fellowship: Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia

Academic Externship: Office of the Auditor-Master, DC Courts

Clinics: Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic & Community Development Clinic

Of Interest: Sherman met classmate and now wife Rosana Chavez, ’15, who works as a Prince Georges County, MD Public Defender!


Housing and Community Development Law Pathway

Madeline McKeller

Madeline McKeller, ‘14
Staff Attorney, Homeless Persons Representation Project

At UDC, you are responsible for your cases and real lives are hanging in the balance. Slowly but surely, you build the skills necessary to serve your clients in the best way possible, under the guidance of brilliant and experienced clinical professors.

Community Service Project: Research on DC public school literacy levels for TimeBanks USA

Post-1L Summer Public Interest Fellowship: Interned for DC Superior Court Judge Harold Cushenberry, Jr.

Post-2L Summer Internship: Worked on housing cases at Neighborhood Legal Services Program

Clinics: Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic & Housing and Consumer Law Clinic

Of Interest: Madeline was Notes Editor of the UDC Law Review


Public Service/Public Policy Pathway

Yvesner Zamar

Yvesner Zamar, ‘14
Legislative Aide, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

As a result of my hands-on training at UDC Law, I have a holistic view on how the laws I work on here in Congress impact our nation, local governments, and the people we serve.

Internships: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of the Nation’s Capital; VetPAC; Federal Health and Families Team at AARP; Office of Congressman Alcee L. Hastings

Leadership: Served two years on NBLSA’s National Board as National Historian and National Attorney General

Of Interest: While at UDC Law, Yvesner was a part of the National Black Law Student Association’s delegations to Haiti and Canada.



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