What They’re Saying About Equal Justice America…

“Congratulations on twenty years of providing critical support to the work of public interest organizations across the country! As a result of your organization’s funding of law student interns, Chicago Legal Clinic has been able to provide legal assistance to thousands more low-income individuals than would otherwise have been possible. Many of our former interns have continued on in public service as staff attorneys at Chicago Legal Clinic or other legal aid organizations. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship for decades to come!” –Marie Nielsen, Supervisory Attorney, Chicago Legal Clinic 

“It is with great pleasure and even greater gratitude that I write to congratulate you on the 20th Anniversary of Equal Justice America. The birth and development of EJA could not have been more timely and fortuitous for legal services organizations such as ours. Over these many years now, the economic cutbacks and other restrictions imposed upon providers of legal representation to the poor have created enormous caseload and other burdens upon us, particularly related to staff reductions and dramatically increasing client needs. Our ability to avoid the most draconian reductions in services can largely be attributed to the contributions made by a corps of highly motivated and dedicated law student interns. The overwhelming majority of these wonderful and indispensable young law students has been financed by EJA!” –Martin S. Needqlman, Executive Director and Chief Counsel, Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A

“While a 20th anniversary is a significant milestone for any non-profit, I’m especially gratified to see EJA’s growth—both because your mission is so aligned with our organizational interests and because of the collaborative and flexible interactions we’ve always enjoyed with EJA. It’s amazing to see the growth of EJA from a concept to a real program providing public interest law placements for more than 300 students a year.” –Robert Gillett, Executive Director, Legal Services of South Central Michigan

“On behalf of the staff, Board and most importantly the clients of Public Counsel, I wanted to congratulate Equal Justice America on its 20th Anniversary and thank you for all you have done to advance equal justice in our community.” –Hernán D. Vera, President / CEO, Public Counsel Law Center, Los Angeles, CA

“On behalf of Greater Boston Legal Services, I congratulate Equal Justice America on 20 years of extraordinary service, and thank you for your reliable support to our clients. Both the staff and clients of GBLS have tremendously benefited from the large number of fellowship recipients you have funded year after year. In fact, of all student funding organizations, EJA has, by far, been the organization to finance the most students at GBLS. Thanks to EJA, idealistic students who would not otherwise have been able to afford to volunteer their time can gain valuable experience in poverty law and continue to make a difference in the lives of the poor.” –Jacquelynne J. Bowman, Executive Director, Greater Boston Legal Services

“Congratulations to Equal Justice America on 20 years of great work! By providing grants to interns for summer work and partnering with LAF, EJA makes a difference that is long-lasting for the students, our staff and most important, our clients. Thank you for your many years of generous support.” –Daniel Lindsey, Supervisory Attorney, Legal Assistance Foundation, Chicago, IL

“Congratulations Equal Justice America for 20 years of helping to make rights a reality for low-income people across the coutry! The EJA Law Student Fellowships are the only summer grants I know of that are dedicated exclusively to supporting civil poverty law practice, and available to students at participating law schools for work throughout the country. Thus, they are a vital complement to more general public interest summer funding, which leaves civil legal services offices competing  for funded interns with placements often perceived as ‘more prestigious’ resume-builders, e.g., at government law offices and in more high-profile practice areas. As a clinical faculty member at one participating law school, who practiced previously in a civil legal services office, I am delighted each year to be able to refer students to EJA for funding for this important work.” –Marcella Silverman, Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law, Lincoln Square Legal Services, Inc.

“My experience at Greater Boston Legal Services has been eye-opening and educational. As I consider my next steps in my career, I know I will take with me the stories of GBLS’s clients, and a strong conviction in the importance of civil legal representation for all. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the incredible attorneys at Greater Boston Legal Services, for whom this work is not a job, but a calling. Thank you for your generous support.” –Nancy H. Welsh, University of Michigan Law School, EJA Summer Fellow 2016

“My time at [the Legal Assistance Foundation] was a personal and professional experience that I will value forever. I learned about people, the law, economics, and how the medical field intersects with the law. This internship solidified in my mind that public interest law is what I want to practice in the future. I love using the skills I have learned to fight for our most vulnerable citizens and I plan to do that for the remainder of my career. Thank you for helping me pursue my dreams and equipping me with support to help Chicago.” –Lindsay Ayers, Chicago-Kent College of Law, EJA Summer Fellow 2016

“I am taking away so much from my experience with Public Counsel. Working with homeless individuals and learning about the state of homelessness in my city was humbling and eye-opening. It was also extremely gratifying to connect with our clients, to have them open up to us about their struggles and about the hardships they regularly endure by being without regular shelter and minimal income. Thank you for this opportunity to give back to my community. I will always remember my time with Public Counsel.” –Krista Thayer, Southwestern Law School, EJA Summer Fellow 2016

“My parents did not attend college and making it to law school was a long and arduous road. EJA’s generous award allowed me the opportunity to give back to the community in a very important way that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do. As a result of my amazing summer experience, I decided to apply to join the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau full time during the next two years.  I was fortunate enough to be accepted and this is now shaping my legal curriculum experience.  Many of my current cases are clients that I represented over the summer, and I continue to build relationships with them and advocate on their behalf both inside and outside the courtroom.  I am so appreciative to Equal Justice America for making this possible.” –Carson Denny, Harvard Law School, EJA Summer Fellow 2016

“I went to work [at the National Immigrant Justice Center] and left each day happily knowing that I made the right choice in going to law school, despite however many times I might’ve doubted it while studying for finals or getting through 1L. I still think about the clients, including one who was surprising her valedictorian daughter with her green card at her graduation. That hope for a better future is why my family and I came to this country, why I went to law school, and why I am committed to continuing my work in public interest. I am incredibly grateful to EJA for the opportunity, and I’m eagerly awaiting years of rewarding legal work.” –Naiara Testai, University of Chicago Law School, EJA Summer Fellow 2016

“I would like to thank you for the Legal Services Fellowship grant that Equal Justice America (EJA) generously awarded me for my summer work at the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles. The grant helped significantly in offsetting my expenses in order to provide legal services for indigent refugee children, and alleviate the overwhelming need for counsel for this particular demographic in Los Angeles.  Had it not been for EJA’s assistance, engaging in the critical and meaningful work I did this summer with the same level
of dedication would not have been possible.” –Héctor Ruiz, UC Hastings College of Law, EJA Summer Fellow 2016

“Such a positive and educational experience at my summer internship [at The Legal Aid Society in New York City] could not have been possible without the support from Equal Justice America. I am sincerely grateful that I was able to be part of the Summer 2015 Fellowship program, and I hope that this program will continue to support other law students like myself and encourage future generations of lawyers to advocate for marginalized, vulnerable populations and to commit themselves to ensuring equal access to legal services. Thank you again for your generosity.” –Joanne, (Seung Eun) Kim, Columbia, EJA Summer Fellow 2015

“First and foremost, I must commend Equal Justice America for the incredible fundraising efforts it puts forth in order to offer this fellowship to such a vast number of students. Paid public interest internships are rare commodities, and many graduates simply cannot afford to pursue the work they love – serving under privileged communities – while making a living wage. Support from EJA extends these once unreachable opportunities to aspiring legal students, offering them personal enrichment, professional experience, and the chance to instigate tangible, positive change in the lives of others. As a recipient of such generosity, I am thankful beyond words.” –Kristen Hayashi, University of Chicago, EJA Summer Fellow 2015

“Thank you so much for this opportunity. For many students, working in public interest is a passion but often times there are financial constraints on the type of work that law students can afford to do. Without this fellowship, I would not have been able to fully enjoy my internship [at the Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights in San Francisco].” –Nnennaya Amuchie, Santa Clara University, EJA Summer Fellow 2015

“I am incredibly grateful to have received the Equal Justice America Law Student Fellowship to work at Greater Boston Legal Services this past summer. I chose to work at GBLS because, having spoken to people who had worked previously as summer interns, I had heard that this was a job where I would get truly beneficial legal experience and get to interact with and assist clients in a way that I would not otherwise have been able to. Upon starting the job, I found everything I heard about the program to be the case. Working in the Employment Unit at GBLS opened me up to experiences that were highly beneficial to the growth of my own legal knowledge, and also tremendously important to the clients that I was serving.” –D. Julian Veintimilla, Cornell, EJA Summer Fellow 2015

“I am so appreciative to Equal Justice America for affording me the opportunity to work with [Community Action Program Legal Services] this summer. I applied to law school in the hopes of beginning a career in public interest, and this summer was the first step on that path.  My fellowship experience confirmed that I made the correct career decision and demonstrated how rewarding a legal career in public service can be.” –Diana Stroud, Boston University, EJA Summer Fellow 2015

“I was grateful for the opportunity to be an advocate and partner to so many clients [at the Employment Law Center in San Francisco] this summer, to remind them that they deserved these legal protections, and stand by them as they went through the process of accessing their rights. This is an experience I will keep with me through the rest of law school, and through my future career. After this summer, I have such a deeper understanding of our legal system and how I can serve to ensure everyone can access the legal protections they deserve. Thank you again for your support of my summer clerkship experience. I had an incredible summer experience, and am grateful to Equal Justice America for your support.” –Margo Watson, Stanford, EJA Summer Fellow 2015

“The Legal Aid Society helps vulnerable residents of communities, while treating them with dignity and respect. All people share a common humanity and after this summer, I feel more compelled than ever to use my legal skills to do what I can to alleviate the suffering caused by poverty and to rectify the conditions that perpetuate it.” –Christina Albertson, University of Virginia, EJA Summer Fellow 2015

“Many promising public interest lawyers attend law schools, like [Cynthia Milian’s], that don’t have summer public interest fellowship programs. Equal Justice America plays an especially vital role in making it possible for these law students to break into public interest legal careers. Support from EJA was the critical factor that allowed Cynthia to work with us at the Equal Justice Center this summer. I believe that experience in turn will have a decisively positive impact on her future as a lawyer and on her future contribution to the cause of justice. Cynthia is just one example of how EJA changes lives and helps make our world more just and sustainable.” –Bill Beardall, Executive Director, Equal Justice Center, Austin, TX

“Because Mr. [Keyon] Brown had the necessary number of law school credits, he was able to obtain his senior law student license and appear on behalf of clients in court. In this capacity, Mr. Brown gained experience speaking and negotiating with opposing counsel and communicating with the judges. Mr. Brown also helped with legal drafting during his summer with LAF. He conducted legal research, drafted discovery requests and responses, and drafted and argued motions. All of these experiences helped both LAF’s legal staff as well as the clients we serve. We truly appreciate the help that Equal Justice America provides for law students to spend their summers at LAF. I myself was a beneficiary of a grant from Equal Justice America. Thank you for your great work!” –Julie Harcum Brennan, Senior Attorney, Legal Assistance Foundation, Chicago, IL

“We are happy that Mr. [John] Stiff was able to obtain funding from Equal Justice America. Unfortunately, BayLegal does not have the funds to pay our summer law clerks and we highly encourage our clerks to apply for outside funding. It is because of fellowships like Equal Justice America that we are able to get wonderful interns like Mr. Stiff and provide our clients with the services they desperately need. BayLegal thanks Equal Justice America donors for creating opportunities for law students like Mr. Stiff to serve clients in need.” –Vanessa Leonardo, Staff Attorney, Bay Area Legal Aid

“It really is impossible for an organization like CVLS to run efficiently and at full capacity without the aid of young energetic attorneys. I hope that [Rachel Zemke’s] time here has made her into a life-long legal aid lawyer, and I hope that Equal Justice America will continue to fund such fellowships. Our profession is richer with the both of you.” –Patricia Nelson, Director of Chancery Access to Justice, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services

“Hilary [Deignan] was a pleasure to work with and to supervise. She knows when to appropriately seek supervision or guidance, and receives suggestions and constructive feedback with ease. She was a lovely presence in the office, establishing nice camaraderie with all of our co-workers. Hilary also has a terrific sense of humor, which is always a great addition especially when we are dealing with challenging and stressful legal cases. We miss Hilary’s presence in our office already, and especially the excellent contributions she made to our legal work and our clients’ circumstances. As always, we deeply appreciate the financial support that Equal Justice America provides for countless interns who contribute indispensable resources to expand our office’s poverty law work, and to the clients we serve.” –Deborah Filler, Senior Staff Attorney, Cambridge & Somerville Legal Services (an office of Greater Boston Legal Service)

“Kiran [Sidhu] goes to school in San Francisco, so coming to work at LAFLA meant relocating to Los Angeles for the summer–a fairly expensive endeavor for a law student, particularly one committed to public interest. Thanks to your fellowship, this was an option for Kiran, and we are thankful for that. The fellowships you provide make it possible for students to make these valuable contributions to LAFLA’s mission of improving the lives of low-income people in our community. On behalf of the many clients who Kiran helped this summer, thank you.” –Shayla R. Myers, Attorney, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

“Thank you for your program and efforts to provide experiences like this to Amy [Lowery] and many others. Legal Aid relies on our interns to execute a great deal of the client aid we give. We were grateful for the financial aid that you provided Amy so that she was able to spend her summer serving and guiding underserved clients. On behalf of Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia, thank you for financially assisting Amy.” –Darryl W. Cunningham, Senior Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia

“I want to personally thank Equal Justice America for supporting Nubyaan [Scott] this past summer and for providing opportunities for law students to work with public interest organizations all over the country. DREDF could not benefit from the brilliant work of students like Nubyaan year after year without supportive organizations like Equal Justice America.” –Robert J. Borrelle, Jr., Staff Attorney, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, Berkeley, CA

“Ms. [Abbie] Carver has demonstrated tremendous initiative throughout her time here. She is often the first to step up to volunteer for assignments. She has consistently completed her work quickly, thoroughly, and reliably. She approaches her job with good humor and a positive attitude, and is a joy to work with. It has been a pleasure to have Ms. Carver for the summer. Our office appreciates Equal Justice America’s support in hosting her. Her hard work has greatly benefited our busy office and, in turn, our clients.” –Letitia A. Lee, Managing Attorney, Legal Services of South Central Michigan

“I had an amazing experience with the Center for Veterans Advancement at Public Counsel. With assistance from an Equal Justice America Summer Fellowship, I was able to pursue my desire to help our veterans and provide legal assistance to those who needed it most. In fact, Equal Justice America has worked to provide over $9 million in grants that pay for legal services for the poor. They perform amazing work and play a vital role in ensuring the poor have access to legal services, all while supporting the next generation of legal professionals. As I continue through my career, I will always remember my summer at the Center for Veterans Advancement and the support I received from Equal Justice America.” –Nicholas Kreb, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, EJA Summer Fellow 2014

“My Summer Fellowship [at the Chicago Legal Clinic] confirmed that my decision to go to law school was the right decision, and only affirmed my calling to work with the under-served. This summer showed me that being a public interest lawyer requires a lot of time, dedication, patience, and sacrifice, as there are many challenges in providing legal services to vulnerable communities. But the attorneys inspired me, and I respect the profession so much more. Each attorney had a unique approach in helping their clients, and together they were a wonderful team. I am very grateful for the opportunity I had to grow as a law student through my Summer Fellowship, and for the funding I received so I could obtain the fullest experience possible without worrying about my financial situation. Please extend my gratitude to the donors and sponsoring organizations who allowed me serve those most in need this summer.” –Sue Lee, DePaul University College of Law, EJA Summer Fellow 2014

“I could not have asked for a better fellowship experience. I feel so fortunate to have been able to work with such great colleagues and staff at [Community Legal Services], and particularly, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Richard Weishaupt for his mentorship. I am also thankful for having been able to work with some amazing clients, whose courage and dignity, despite extreme adversity, has inspired me more than they will ever know. Finally, I am incredibly thankful and appreciative of Equal Justice America for making this fellowship possible by funding my summer internship. Please know that your support has not only helped provide expanded legal assistance to lower-income Philadelphians, but selfishly, it has also enabled me to pursue the legal career path that I have always dreamed of following. Words simply cannot express how grateful I am for Equal Justice America’s support in making this internship viable. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you!” –Jack Regenbogen, University of Pennsylvania Law School, EJA Summer Fellow 2014

“Thank you for choosing me as an Equal Justice America Fellow. I am extremely grateful for the support of your organization for the second year in a row. Again, the assistance I received from Equal Justice America made it possible for me to pursue an internship in legal services, even though the organization could not fund my work directly. My experience working with the Disabilities Law Project of the Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. in Wilmington, DE made me even more excited than I previously was about pursuing a career in public interest. Without the support of organizations like yours, the financial constraints of this work would be prohibitive. Equal Justice America and its sister organizations make me hopeful about the future of public interest legal work.” –Katharine Vengraitis, Temple Law, EJA Summer Fellow 2014

“This past summer I worked at the Legal Services of South Central Michigan’s Family Law Project. There, I assisted low-income survivors of domestic abuse with family law matters, including helping them to obtain personal protection orders, divorces, and custody of their children. I learned a lot about family law and improved my practical lawyering skills through this fellowship, and I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to Equal Justice America for giving me the opportunity to have such a wonderful and worthwhile summer experience.” –Dayna M. Chikamoto, University of Michigan Law School, EJA Summer Fellow 2014

“I wanted to thank you and Equal Justice America for helping to support my work this summer with the Housing Group at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. I had the opportunity to do a broad range of work, including litigation, legal research, client intake, and presentations of new cases at case acceptance meetings. I felt very positive about my work because I knew that my efforts were helping people living in poverty to keep decent, safe and affordable housing. I was also exposed to a variety of legal housing issues, including eviction from subsidized housing, disability accommodation, and housing protection for seniors, veterans, and people living with HIV/AIDS. I feel so fortunate that EJA gave me the financial help I needed so I could do this important work.” –Kayla Higgins, Chicago-Kent College of Law, EJA Summer Fellow 2014

“I am writing to express my deepest gratitude to you and to Equal Justice America for funding my summer work with Atlanta Legal Aid Society (ALAS). With your support I was able to provide direct legal assistance to a number of low income individuals while working alongside some of the finest legal services attorneys in the country. This experience solidified my commitment to public interest work and would not have been possible without EJA’s support.” –Fuery Hocking, Georgia State University College of Law, EJA Summer Fellow 2014

“Thank you for my selection as a recipient of the Equal Justice America Fellowship for the summer of 2014. Working at University Legal Services has enabled me to become more closely involved with the mental health system, especially in the District of Columbia. Providing protection to individuals with mental illness, especially in claims of abuse and neglect, is essential for the regulation of psychiatric and mental health facilities. During my outreach activities I met with patients, staff, and hospital directors to ensure proper treatment of these individuals. The knowledge and experience I gained during the internship has deeply impacted my own perspective of mental health and further encouraged my path towards mental health advocacy. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in this program.” –Danica Gonzales, George Washington University Law School, EJA Summer Fellow 2014

“After the summer fellowship [at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles], I have an inspired sense of how public interest attorneys must manage their client’s desperation through the judicial process. The lawyers I worked with showed kindness, patience and precision in handling the legal matters of our client’s lives and even in a highly chaotic environment remained focused on securing justice for the client. For all of the above reasons this summer gave me a better sense of why I am here, in law school, and why I am pursuing social justice law. Because of Equal Justice America’s Summer Fellowship I was able to use my skills to advocate for the rights of women and I will continue to do so for the rest of my legal career. Thank you for your generosity and the opportunity to serve.” –Keri Gross, Santa Clara University School of Law, EJA Summer Fellow 2014