With the help of an OLSPIF stipend, I was a legal intern for the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center in San Francisco (LAS-ELC). This organization helps protect the rights of low-income employees in a number of different ways including: litigation, free informational hotlines and clinics, and policy and legislative work.
By far the best part of my summer experience was learning by doing with the assistance of my supervising attorneys. I wrote demand letters on behalf of employees who were wrongfully fired for taking time off for medical or pregnancy related reasons and represented clients in unemployment hearings in front of Administrative Law Judges. I wrote and presented a memo to the office proposing litigation on behalf of a man terminated for discussing racial discrimination at work, and drafted a federal complaint on behalf of a client who was the victim of numerous wage and hour violations. I also was a clinic counselor for the weekly Worker’s Rights Clinic, providing free information and legal counsel (with the assistance of attorneys) to low income clients. These experiences allowed me to move beyond the theoretical discussions of my first year courses and develop practical skills and experiences that I will continue to build on in the future.
This internship also allowed me to meet an incredible group of attorneys who inspired me with their intelligence, dedication and passion for their clients. By keeping people in their jobs, and promoting safe, respectful, discrimination free workplaces, the LAS-ELC provides a vital service to low-income workers who often have nowhere else to go. Thanks to OLSPIF, I had the financial means to help the LAS-ELC with its mission develop an important set of skills that I will carry with me into my second year of law school and beyond.