Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How I Spent My Summer: Internship

I spent this past (summer between my 1L and 2L year) at the Disability Rights Legal Center in downtown Los Angeles, working with the new Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project (LA HLPP). It was an amazing experience! A typical day for summer LA HLPP interns began with handling intake calls. Potential clients would call in and we would talk to them and identify the person’s potential legal issues. We would then research the legal issues on our own, looking up regulations and statutes that could possibly be applicable. We then arranged time to meet with one of our supervising attorneys who would discuss the intake and get our opinion of the legal issues. With the supervision and guidance of our supervising attorneys, we then continued our research and followed up with the client to either give them consultation and advice or refer them to another agency.

What I liked most about interning is that it made everything real for me. During the school year when we are reading hundreds of cases and learning countless rules, it is easy to forget that everything we learn in law school has real world implications. What was once a property lesson about an old case became a client who face living on the streets. What was once issue spotting to help a hypothetical client with a cartoon name like Donald Duck to earn a grade, became issue spotting and researching to help the man who had shared his life story with you and believed that you were his last hope at justice.

Overall, interning gave me renewed sense of purpose in law school. Suddenly, the curve just doesn’t seem as important as studying diligently to acquire the skills to be able efficiently represent my real future clients.

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