Student Testimonials

Over the past two years, SFPIF has provided individual financial assistance to over 90 Northwestern Law students working in unpaid, public interest internships during the summer. Without SFPIF support, many of these students would have been unable to take advantage of these employment opportunities. Some of the organizations which have indirectly benefited from SFPIF's support include:

Cook County Office of the Public Defender - Chicago, IL
Alexene Farol - Class of 2014
2012 SFPIF Grant Recipient

I used my SFPIF grant to work at the Cook County Office of the Public Defender, where I served as a law clerk. I worked in Judge Dennis Porter's courtroom under the supervision of Assistant PD Dan Walsh. I was responsible for legal research and writing motions, but the majority of my day was spent with defendants in lockup or in jail. My job was to know the cases' ins and outs, and to be involved in the pre-trial investigations with the client, and often the client's witnesses or family members. I was able to see the court functions up close, and to participate in the legal process through writing my own motions that appeared before the judge. More importantly in my mind, I learned the criminal justice system from the trenches, working with the accused themselves. That has led me to pursue a career in criminal defense, which I had never previously considered. It was an incredible experience, and one that I plan to continue. 

U.S. Attorney's Office - Los Angeles
Andrea Hoeven - Class of 2013
2012 SFPIF Grant Recipient

This summer I was one of four summer law clerks working in the Major Frauds division of the Los Angeles USO which prosecutes the most significant white collar crime cases in the country. Having come to law school with an interest in white collar crime, it was an experience I just couldn't pass up. During the summer, I worked one on one with a A.U.S.A. who has been in the office for over 20 years. I helped her take an international wire and mail fraud case to trial and we got a guilty verdict on all fifteen counts on my last day in the office. She involved me in every aspect of the trial prep and trial, including witness prep, writing pre-trial motions and actually crafting the witness exams and closing arguments. It was an invaluable experience that I simply could not have gotten elsewhere. I also researched and wrote various motions, prosecution memos and an appellate brief for other attorneys while in the office. All of these opportunities exceeded the type of work my colleagues in big firms were getting, both in responsibility and scope. I am grateful to SFPIF for giving me the freedom to pursue the type of work I came to law school to do and I am more confident leaving my summer experience that public interest is, and will continue to be, a priority in my practice.


Illinois Office of Health Information Technology - Chicago, IL
John Saran - Class of 2013
2012 SFPIF Grant Recipient

My SFPIF grant allowed me to work for the Illinois Governor's Office of Health Information Technology at the Thompson Center during the summer of 2012. There I worked under the general counsel on transactional and regulatory matters in furtherance of implementing the Illinois Health Information Exchange. This federally sponsored project is intended to link up hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers in a single network so that electronic health data can be shared throughout the state. I negotiated contracts with large software companies, drafted legislative amendments and presented in front of agency committees. In just a few months, I not only obtained practical real-world experience, but also made several contacts in the healthcare field. I think that I was able to quickly find a transactional health care associate position in Chicago because of the invaluable experiences I had over the summer, which would not have been possible without the SFPIF grant.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – Chicago, IL
Samuel Ikard - Class 2014
2012 SFPIF Grant Recipient

At the EEOC, I worked on various projects related to claims of discrimination in the workplace. I worked on litigation evaluations of racial harassment claims, which included interviewing the charing parties, witnesses, and drafting a memo evaluating the strength of the case. I also worked on various other claims of sexual harassment and disability discrimination. I got to also sit in on the initial intake of discrimination charges, depositions, and settlement conferences.

I learned a lot about a federal agency that I had little knowledge of prior to working there. I learned a lot about employment discrimination law in the U.S. as well as the obstacles federal agencies face with limited resources.

I chose the EEOC because the mission of the agency to eradicate discrimination in the workplace is one which I feel strongly about. I really enjoyed my experience at the EEOC because it gave me an opportunity to do a lot of hands on work as a 1L and because the attorneys and my co-interns were such great and impressive people. It was also a great experience because I was able to see tangible results from my work.

I think SFPIF is an amazing and unique resource that allows Northwestern Law students to do public interest, unpaid internships when financial hardship might normally not allow it. I have met few students from other schools that have access to an equivalent resource. Without SFPIF, I would not have been able to spend my summer in Chicago or worked at the EEOC and for that I am very grateful.

Advocates for Children of New York • New York City, NY
Margie Wakelin, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

My SFPIF grant enabled me to work at Advocates for Children of New York during the summer of 2006. At Advocates for Children, attorneys work on behalf of low income families to ensure that their children have access to quality public education in New York City. The organization strives to be a powerful agent for change within the public schools of New York by combining legal services, impact litigation, direct advocacy, public education, training, organizing, and research and policy analysis. While a summer intern, I represented parents with students who receive special education services. I conducted intake interviews, reviewed educational records, investigated appropriate schools and services as potential remedies, researched legal issues, and prepared for administrative due process hearings, including preparing witness testimony, drafting cross-examination questions and opening and closing statements. In addition, I drafted a memorandum of law as an appeal to the State Review Board. Finally, I assisted in the analysis of discovery in a federal court class action lawsuit. I owe so much to SFPIF because I never could have worked for Advocates for Children without my grant!

American Civil Liberties Union • Atlanta, GA
Joshua Press, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

Thanks to the kindness of SFPIF, I was able to work as a legal intern over the summer for the ACLU of Georgia. During my twelve weeks at the ACLU, I advocated for the rights of students against an unconstitutionally vague school clothing policy, advised on an amicus brief concerning a college's dormitory harassment policies, wrote a letter to the Georgia Board of Education about why they shouldn't allow Harry Potter books to be banned from local schools and libraries, and got to help draft briefs and motions on cases at the preliminary injunction and trial levels, respectively. These were all wonderful experiences that have helped me grow and learn much of what it means to be a lawyer in the public interest. But because the ACLU of Georgia does not have the money to pay its law clerks, this tremendous experience would not have been possible without my SFPIF grant. I can't thank SFPIF enough for its generosity and for helping me have such a wonderful summer!

Amnesty International USA • Washington, D.C.
Joanna McFadden, Class of 2006
2005 SFPIF grant recipient

Because of the generosity of SFPIF and SFPIF alumni across the country and the world, I was able to work as a legal intern in the refugee program of Amnesty International USA, located in Washington, DC. During my twelve week at Amnesty, I advocated for the rights of refugees on Capitol Hill, conducted legal research on cases pending before the Supreme Court, drafted Urgent Actions to be sent to Amnesty's worldwide membership, composed sign-on letters to be signed by members of Congress as well as fellow NGOs, and visited area detention centers to help detained aliens with their defensive asylum claims. Because Amnesty does not pay its interns, this tremendous experience would not have been possible without my SFPIF grant.

The Ark Foundation • Accra, Ghana
Kerry Slade, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

This summer I worked at a women's and children's rights foundation near Accra, Ghana. It is expensive to fly to Africa and the foundation was of course unable to pay me, so my SFPIF grant was crucial. At the foundation I worked within the Women's Law and Human Rights Institute and worked on various things. I wrote funding proposals, training manuals on Social Development and Public Interest Litigation, and sought out other schools to affiliate with. It was an interesting time to be in Ghana because there is a Domestic Violence Bill currently in Parliament. I worked on several projects related to this bill including helping out at a luncheon for members of Parliament and writing a memo to Parliament in support of the bill. I also had the chance to write three articles of my own for submission to local papers. All in all it was a very educational and fulfilling summer.

Center on Wrongful Convictions • Chicago, IL
Meredith Baron, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

When I started law school, I knew that I would want to spend my first summer working at the Bluhm Legal Clinic. What I wasn't sure about, however, was how I could do that and pay my rent at the same time. Thankfully, all because I was given a generous SFPIF grant, I was able to spend my summer working full time at the Center on Wrongful Convictions.

Throughout the summer I was given numerous projects to work on for various clients. Although there was a lot of research and writing involved, my very first day I was asked to write a motion in limine, I was also given the chance to conduct interviews, attend a jury exercise in Springfield, visit with clients in prison, and investigate new claims of innocence. This summer was particularly exciting because I was able to help on the Julie Harper case, which we took to trial in July and ultimately won. After spending a year of school simply reading case after case, it was an amazing experience to actually be involved in a trial and to personally see how the outcome drastically changes a person's life. I am grateful that SFPIF made this summer a possibility.

Center on Wrongful Convictions • Chicago, IL
Tia Trout-Perez, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

My SFPIF grant enabled me to spend an incredible summer at the Center on Wrongful Convictions. I primarily worked on a case involving a man who was wrongfully convicted of raping and murdering a small child 26 years ago (amazingly, 2 weeks after I was born). After re-testing the DNA recovered from the scene of the crime using the latest DNA technology, the Center secured proof that our client was innocent - none of the semen or blood recovered from the crime scene belongs to him. In light of this newly discovered evidence, my task this summer was to write a petition for relief from judgment. From pouring over the trial transcript, to re-interviewing witnesses, I was able to compile a draft of the document, which was filed at the end of July. We are now awaiting the state's response. Of all of the experiences I had this summer, perhaps the most rewarding was going to meet our wrongfully-convicted client in prison. It was amazing to meet him and to hear his story.

In addition to work on this case, I was able to catch a glimpse of the incredible variety of cases and work that the Center does. I was able to attend part of Julie Rae Harper's trial. Ms. Harper was being retried for the murder of her ten-year-old son after her previous conviction was vacated. Because of work performed by former and current Center students, current Clinic attorneys, and the law firm Schiff Hardin, Ms. Harper was found not guilty. I was also able to attend a portion of the civil trial of a former Center client, Michael Evans. Mr. Evans was wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years for the murder of a young girl. Because of the circumstances surrounding his arrest and conviction, Mr. Evans sued the City of Chicago. Although, Mr. Evans was unsuccessful in his action, his attorneys did a masterful job of representing him.

My summer was full with meaningful, interesting work. In addition to that already explained, I also screened requests for counsel from prisoners and pending issues and worked on other pending Center cases. My experience with the Center this summer was inspiring and rewarding. Without the SFPIF grant, it would not have been possible. I am truly grateful to everyone who continues to make these SFPIF grants possible. Not only do the grants change students' lives by making these incredible opportunities possible, but the grants also change the lives of those individuals who would otherwise be without assistance.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless • Chicago, IL
Miraf Bisetegne, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

This summer I used my Len Rubinowitz Grant to intern at Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Chicago Coalition for the Homeless focuses its resources on policy changes to help homeless individuals and combat prostitution. I was able to visit many transitional housing locations and meet with various service providers in the city of Chicago. Additionally, I developed a brochure for sex trade victims to help them understand their rights, the resources available to them, and newly passed laws. I enjoyed my internship and it would not have been possible without a grant from SFPIF.

Children and Family Justice Center • Chicago, IL
Ashley Fretthold, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

The funding I received this summer from SFPIF allowed to me work at Northwestern's Children and Family Justice Center. The position was both personally and professionally enriching. I worked for two children who were seeking asylum after being persecuted in their home country. I drafted affidavits and briefs, researched country conditions, interviewed clients, and searched for experts to submit affidavits. One of our clients was a teenage girl who was afraid of being kidnapped by drug traffickers, as her older sister had been. Another was a teenage boy whose family members had been murdered, shot, and threatened by gang members. In addition to those two cases, I conducted intake interviews at two detention centers for immigrant children. The enormity of the immigration system's problems was evident in every child's story. Although there were many frustrating cases where we could not help the children, some satisfaction came from helping those we could. I learned so much, not only about asylum law, but also about client interaction and professionalism in general.

Without the SFPIF fellowship, I would not have been able to support myself this summer, and this incredible experience would have never happened. Thank you to all those people who donate so generously to make SFPIF possible.

Children's Law Center • Washington, D.C.
Liz Kenny, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

Because of the hard work and generosity of the members of the NU Law community and SFPIF members specifically I was able to spend my summer with the guardians ad litem of the Children's Law Center. The GAL's are appointed by the DC Superior Court to represent the best interests of children involved in neglect proceedings. As is common with many non-profits, CLC can not afford to pay their summer law clerks. My SFPIF grant allowed me to advocate for a high quality of life, in all aspects of life, for neglected children in Washington, DC. I spent the summer writing memos assessing the impact of new DC neglect laws and cases on current CLC clients, attending the criminal hearings associated with neglect cases, conducting criminal background checks, interviewing our clients and their families. I also spent countless hours assessing our client's personal needs and trying to get them the services they need to thrive as children and be on a path to successful adulthood. Some of the things I investigated with and for our clients were: summer camps, summer schools, obtaining IEP documentation and other school records, arranging day care for the children of our clients, joining our clients at orientation and information sessions for job training and alternative school programs, etc.

City of Chicago, Department Of Law • Chicago, IL
Jairo Villanueva, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

Because of the generosity of SFPIF and SFPIF alumni across the country, I was able to work for the City of Chicago during the summer as an extern in the revenue litigation department. I worked with corporations and citizens that failed or refused to pay taxes which affected the citizenry of the city in general. This experience allowed me to observe the inner workings of city government and the manner in which the various departments in the city work together. This experience allowed me to observe actual cases and to work on a few doing research and writing of memorandums and parts of briefs. It was undoubtedly a very enlightening and worthwhile experience which allowed me to advocate for all of the citizens of the city of Chicago by making sure that those that failed to adhere to the law did not get away. Working for a city government and gaining this invaluable experience would not have being possible without the generosity of SFPIF alumni across the country, thank you.

Colorado Attorney General's Office • Denver, CO
Caleb Durling, Class of 2007
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

With the help of my SFPIF grant, I was able to work in the Appellate Section of the Colorado Attorney General's office this summer. I had two main tasks there. First, I was in charge of researching and writing up the unique first impression legal issues which the staff did not have time to exhaustively investigate on its own. Second, given the dramatic rise in pro se prisoner briefs in light of several recent Supreme Court decisions, I had the opportunity to write several response briefs which helped the office out immensely. The grant I received from SFPIF enabled me to live in Colorado for the summer, paying for basic living expenses as well as transportation. Without the grant, I would not have been able to afford taking this position, and would have lost the valuable and worthwhile opportunity.

Cook County Office of the Public Guardian • Chicago, IL
Erica Walter, Class of 2006
2005 SFPIF grant recipient

I spent this summer as a law clerk at the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian. Since the Public Guardian is unable to fund its law clerks, my SFPIF fellowship gave me the opportunity to work there without having to worry about paying my rent and bills. Without the SFPIF grant, I would not have been able to afford working at an organization that did not have the funding to pay its summer clerks.

At the Public Guardian's office, I worked with the attorneys who represent abused and neglected children in Cook County. The attorneys have a dual role; on one hand they advocate for what the child wants and on the other they act as guardian ad litem, representing what they believe is in the best interest of the children. Throughout the summer, I had the opportunity to meet and interview clients, prepare for hearings, and work with the attorneys and the Department of Children and Family Services to try to create the most desirable living situation for children who have been removed from their homes and to ensure their safety. The Guardian's office is incredibly important to its clients because they attorneys fight to make sure that the needs of the children are the top priority when making important decisions about the children's lives. Thanks to SFPIF, I was able to contribute to this important endeavor.

Department of Health and Human Services • Washington, D.C.
Maura Cahill, Class of 2006
2005 SFPIF grant recipient

This past summer I lived in Washington, D.C. and interned at the Department of Health and Human Service's Office of General Counsel in the National Institutes of Health branch.

A big part of the reason I came to law school was because I am interested in the legal and ethical issues associated with health care. I received a Masters of bioethics before attending law school, intending to combine bioethics and law professionally. In light of this background, it was a goal of mine for my 1L summer to find a position that would provide me with some experience in the area of health, law, and policy. Working in the Office of General Counsel at National Institutes of Health was the answer!

At NIH, some of the projects I worked on included contributing a written legal assessment to Briefing Book: Emergency Authorities of the Secretary of Health & Human Services, researching and writing memos addressing legal issues presented to the Office of General Counsel, and composing affidavits for the Department of Justice in litigation involving an NIH researcher. In addition, I had many opportunities to participate in government-wide summer legal intern events.

Through SFPIF's generous Len Rubinowitz Fellowship, I could focus on public service through my internship at the NIH without burdens of financial stress or spending time working at another job for income. I was also able to explore the area of health law and learn that I do, in fact, wish to pursue this practice area professionally, to live in D.C. over the summer, and to meet a number of health law attorneys with whom I hope to stay in touch throughout my career. Thank you, SFPIF, for making such a satisfying summer possible!!

Department of Justice • Washington, D.C.
James Anderson, Class of 2006
2005 SFPIF grant recipient

My SFPIF grant enabled me to take an internship this summer in Washington, D.C. with the Department of Justice's Civil Division, Torts Branch. The office that I worked in handled claims and suits arising under the Federal Tort Claims Act and was comprised of about 30 attorneys and 6 other summer interns. I wrote several legal memoranda on issues regarding suits against the government by private citizens. For example, the FTCA requires a six month settlement period between the time a citizen files an administrative claim against a federal agency or employee and the time when the citizen may sue the agency or employee in federal court; it is in this time period that the government attempts to settle the administrative claim. I wrote settlement recommendations on two occasions evaluating settlements that had been reached by an Assistant U.S. Attorney in cases involving alleged medical malpractice at military hospitals. The memos analyzed the state law issues regarding liability and damages and the federal law provisions under the FTCA. Another large project was to write a memo evaluating under what circumstances a doctor working with the Indian Health Service could provide care to a non-Indian and still be covered under the FTCA. Another memo analyzed whether or not a military veteran who had claimed Federal Employee Compensation Act benefits for an injured knee suffered while he had worked as a postal employee could sue under both FECA and the FTCA when he re-injured the knee while visiting a friend on an Army base several years later. Finally, the DOJ sponsored several tours of D.C. landmarks and a brown bag lunch speaker series introducing the legal interns to the various Federal departments.

I used my SFPIF funds to cover my travel, food, and rental expenses for the summer. Without my SFPIF grant, I simply would not have been able to take my internship with the DOJ because I ended the academic year with very little money left over. Living and eating in Washington, D.C. can be expensive, but I was able to cover nearly 100% of my expenses thanks to SFPIF.

The Documentation Center of Cambodia • Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Megan Whittaker, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

This summer I worked as a legal associate at the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), an NGO that contains the largest collection of evidence from the Cambodian Genocide in the 1970's. Working from the Center's offices in the country's capital, Phnom Penh, I was able to work on a variety of projects related to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. For example, I did research on the international jurisprudence concerning the appropriate definition of crimes against humanity. For the Tribunal's Officer of the Prosecutor, I put together a database on the Center's collection of interviews of members of the Cham Muslim minority group taken from refugee camps on the Thai-Cambodian border in the 1980's. The biggest and most rewarding project I worked on was the creation of a booklet introducing Cambodian high school and university students to the Tribunal, to their own legal system, and to the rule of law. Since legacy may be the most important thing to come out of the Tribunal, it was wonderful to be a part of it and be able to contribute to the efforts of a heartbreaking country that is still trying to rebuild itself. Since DC-Cam is almost completely dependent on international donors, the internship was unpaid. My SFPIF grant covered all my expenses for living and working in Cambodia for 10 weeks, including my airfare. Without the generosity of SFPIF donors, I wouldn't have been able to have such an eye-opening and humbling experience.

Earthjustice • Washington, D.C.
Sarah Burtis, Class of 2007
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

Through the generous SFPIF fellowship, I was able to spend this summer working for Earthjustice in Washington, D.C. Earthjustice is a nationwide non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting people, wildlife and natural resources. It is one of the most effective environmental groups in the country and provides free legal representation to citizen groups to enforce environmental laws.

In the D.C. office, I worked primarily on Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act litigation. I prepared memoranda for attorneys in the office. Since there are only six attorneys in the D.C. office, I was able to work with almost all of them. The research varied and included potential claims for future litigation, discreet issues in current cases, and updating case law research on a case that has been ongoing for almost twenty years! I learned a lot of substantive law and also saw firsthand the attorney's dedication to their work and clients. The attorneys were very generous with their time and I was able to improve my research and writing skills tremendously. They were also a fun group to work with and I was able to attend several summer legal intern events around D.C. as well.

Environmental Protection Agency • Chicago, IL
Nate Blair, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

I worked this past summer as an extern at the U.S. EPA Office of Regional Counsel for Region 5 here in Chicago. It was a great place to work, and I was grateful to get a SFPIF grant because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to work there. The people there were truly first rate. They are intelligent, accessible mentors and fun to work beside. And the work itself was great too. From the first day I was given challenging projects that I was given a good amount of freedom to handle on my own-though the attorneys were always willing to help and critique where necessary. I drafted a referral to the Department of Justice, a Request for Information in an EPCRA case, and a complaint in an EPCRA case. There was of course also a number of memo assignments. To me the work was rewarding as I have always been concerned for environmental causes, and it was great to have the chance to work for the summer protecting the environment and the public health.

Geneva for Human Rights • Geneva, Switzerland
Gwendolyn Ostrosky, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

Thanks to SFPIF I was able to spend my summer abroad, working at an international non-governmental organization. It is incredibly difficult to find funding to work outside of the United States, so SFPIF provided me with a truly unique opportunity.

Geneva for Human Rights (GHR) is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and its main focus is to provide training to other NGOs around the world in order to enable them to work effectively within the United Nations system to achieve their goals. As an intern, I monitored various human rights meetings at the UN and wrote analytical reports that GHR disseminated to other NGOs through training seminars and networks. I attended meetings of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Human Rights Committee, the Economic and Social Council, the Sub-Commission on Human Rights, and the inaugural session of the Human Rights Council. I also helped to conduct a training seminar for Asian NGOs present in Geneva in preparation for the 1st Session of the Human Rights Council. My time spent at the UN was invaluable to understanding how the various international human rights mechanisms work in practice and the international character of Geneva also enabled me to broaden my perspective through casual dialogues about human rights.

Georgia Justice Project • Atlanta, GA
Lucy Stroup, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

I spent this summer as a legal intern at the Georgia Justice Project in Atlanta. Georgia Justice Project attorneys practice indigent criminal defense and represent clients in cases ranging from city ordinance violations to first-degree murder. As a legal intern, I conducted interviews of potential clients, helped to prep clients for trial and wrote necessity defense memoranda and trial briefs. I also developed and implemented a project on the decriminalization of homelessness in Atlanta and assisted in the representation of people arrested for violations of Òquality of lifeÓ ordinances and also in expungement and pardoning of criminal records. Because GJP does not have the resources to pay its interns, without the SFPIF grant this invaluable experience would not have been possible.

Illinois Attorney General • Chicago, IL
Matt Schiltz, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

I spent the summer working for Attorney General Lisa Madigan's Disability Rights Bureau. The Disability Rights Bureau is primarily concerned with the enforcement of state and federal accessiblity laws, which ensure that those with developmental, mobility, or other impairments can enjoy the same services as those without such disabilities. My primary responsibilities were drafting and editing memos, demand letters, settlement agreements, and other documents. I also attended various committee meetings with the bureau chief and attorneys, and assisted at a site inspection during an accessibility investigation. Without a SFPIF grant, I would not have had the opportunity to participate in the Attorney General's clerkship program. Disability rights law is a dynamic and relatively young advocacy area, and I was extremely pleased with my work this summer. Many thanks to all who participated in or donated to SFPIF events throughout last year.

Internal Revenue Service • Chicago, IL
Daniel Crook, Class of 2005
2005 SFPIF grant recipient

This summer I worked at the Chief Counsel's Office for the Internal Revenue Service in Chicago, Illinois. My work at the office included drafting memos discussing possible case theories for approaching trials, researching new tax shelters and the Service's possible positions against the shelters, and writing adverse determination letter opinions. The Chief Counsel's office makes every attempt to expose students to every aspect of their lawyer's work, so I was also able to sit in on numerous conference calls discussing cutting edge tax issues, a few client meetings, and also visit the investigation division of the IRS where I learned about their spy techniques and used a few of their ultra-high tech surveillance equipment.

Like most government jobs, my position was unpaid. My SFPIF grant helped me pay rent and avoid taking out too much more in loans, while providing service to an important by somewhat under funded and overworked division of our federal government. The money made my decision between what I really wanted to do (IRS), and what I thought I should do (private firm), much easier. Law students have a very limited opportunity to experience different types of law practice, and SFPIF gave me the opportunity for an experience that will help me for my entire legal career.

Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing • Chicago, IL
Mike Wong, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

I received a fellowship from SFPIF that allowed me to gain valuable experience and make a difference to the Chicago community at the Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing. As the premier eviction defense group in Chicago, the LCBH both represents tenants facing eviction who cannot otherwise afford an attorney and represents tenants against their landlord in issues before they end up in litigation.

During this past summer, I worked in the Attorney of the Day (AOD) project, where I assisted tenants facing eviction by supporting attorneys in and out of the courtroom. I drafted pleadings and motions, provided courtroom support during litigation, and performed critical functions in dealing with clients. Over the course of the summer, I worked on 35 eviction cases and was able to help get the vast majority of them dismissed or settled.

I also worked on the Tenant Advocacy Project (TAP), which represented tenants against landlords in non-eviction cases. I was able to help tenants achieve settlements with their landlords in several instances of illegal lockouts and denial of essential services and utilities.

Finally, I also worked on the Affordable Housing Preservation Project (AHPP), which seeks to preserve affordable housing and prevent landlords from abusing their tenants. I worked on several cases where landlords were illegally evicting their tenants wholesale in order to refit their buildings to attract more wealthy tenants and was able to help get settlements for the tenants and allow them to retain their apartments.

The feeling of both belonging to a legal team and helping single mothers, families, disabled people, and seniors hold on to their homes was indescribable. I am very grateful to the students who contributed so much to SFPIF last year. My grant allowed me to make a tangible, direct, positive difference to the community and have an amazing summer.

Legal Aid Society • Brooklyn, NY
Hayley Upshaw, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

With SFPIF's support, I spent the summer working at The Legal Aid Society's Education Advocacy Project in Brooklyn, New York. Legal Aid represents over 90% of foster children in New York City in their family court cases. Many children in foster care have some special education needs but, without a stable family life, these children often have no adult who consistently follows through with the school and the Board of Education to ensure that their needs are being met. The Education Advocacy Project (EAP) was founded in response to this problem and now, anyone who works with a child in family court can refer the child to EAP if they have concerns about the child's educational placement or performance.

In order to best represent our clients, we try to gain a broad picture of their backgrounds. Over the course of the summer, I conducted numerous home visits where I would meet the children and their foster parents to conduct informal interviews and gain a sense of the child's educational history, current academic levels and goals for the future. If possible, I also observed the child in class and spoke to teachers of guidance counselors about their observations and recommendations for the child. I would then write to the Board of Education on behalf of the child, requesting whatever evaluations seemed appropriate and asking that they convene a meeting to adjust the child's Individualized Education Plan accordingly. My supervising attorney and I would attend these meetings at the Board of Education, along with the foster parent and/or biological parent, and advocate for the services we believed would best suit our clients' needs. After the Board of Education made a recommendation for a specific kind of service or school setting, we would then help the child and his or her foster parent choose service providers or accompany them on school visits to ensure that the placement being offered was, in fact, appropriate.

Children in foster care are some of the most vulnerable and it was incredibly rewarding to help our clients access and take advantage of the educational services available to them under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and state law. Thank you SFPIF!

Legal Aid Society of San Diego • San Diego, CA
Uri Itkin, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

Because of SFPIF, my job this summer did not feel like work. I interned at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego where I helped indigent clients file petitions for restraining orders, answer eviction complaints, and apply for guardianship over their incapacitated family members. The experience was extremely fulfilling as I guided all kinds of people from all walks of life through their legal problems, educating them about the legal system and its ins and outs. In addition, the internship provided me with a set of practical skills that could only be acquired on the job, outside of the classroom. Because the Legal Aid Society is a non-profit organization, the internship was unpaid. By providing me with a salary, the SFPIF grant enabled me to enrich my lawyering skills and to make a valuable contribution to the community. I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation to SFPIF and what it allowed me to do. Thanks SFPIF!

Legal Assistance Foundation • Chicago, IL
Jennifer Cassel, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

I spent my summer working in the downtown office of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (LAF) as an intern in the Illinois Migrant Legal Assistance Project (IMLAP), a sub-project of LAF. My work included drafting complaints, drafting affidavits of damages, conducting legal research, providing English summaries of client interviews conducted in Spanish, filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, helping clients with immigration documents and food stamp applications, as well as speaking with clients, both over the phone and in person. One unique aspect of IMLAP is that it has an outreach component, meaning that over the summer interns have the opportunity to travel to outlying areas of Illinois, where migrant workers live and work, and inform them of the legal services IMLAP offers. It is particularly helpful to speak and read Spanish if you take this internship.

Legal and Human Rights Centre • Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Rachel Steinback, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

Thanks to the hard work of SFPIF members and the generosity of its donors, I received a SFPIF grant that allowed me to spend the summer volunteering as a legal intern at a Tanzanian non-governmental human rights organization. The experience was absolutely amazing, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have done it. I can honestly say that I learned something new everyday - about the culture, legal system, government, people, and way of life in Tanzania - and while I know I could have conducted research on Tanzanian human rights from the United States, the experience of being in Dar es Salaam, interacting with Tanzanians, and learning about these issues firsthand was invaluable. At the Centre's headquarters, I researched human rights violations, drafted a funding proposal for a campaign to end female genital mutilation in Tanzania, and analyzed the work done by the Centre's legal aid clinics in order to make recommendations on Òstrategic litigationÓ cases the Centre could pursue in furtherance of the public interest. I worked alongside incredibly bright, motivated and compassionate individuals, who I am still in contact with today. I simply cannot say enough about the experience I had, and I truly couldn't have done it without SFPIF funding. I am proud to be a SFPIF board member, so that I can ensure that other students have the same opportunity that I did, be it in Tanzania or elsewhere.

Midwest Center for Justice • Evanston, IL
Jessica Lee Parent, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

The SFPIF grant I received this summer allowed me to work at the Midwest Center for Justice, a small non-profit organization in Evanston that specializes in death penalty appeals. Over the course of the summer, I helped draft a habeas petition for a client in Mississippi, conducted research for a direct appeal in a federal death penalty case, met with two clients in the Indiana State Penitentiary, and traveled to Kentucky to attend an evidentiary hearing. With only two attorneys and limited resources, the Midwest Center for Justice would have difficulty funding summer interns on its own. SFPIF helps ensure that organizations such as this allow students to have real life work experiences with real responsibilities.

Midwest Center for Justice • Evanston, IL
Georgia Alexakis, Class of 2006
2005 SFPIF grant recipient

Thanks to the generosity of the Len Rubinowitz Fellowship program, I was able to spend my summer working for the Midwest Center for Justice (MCJ), a small public interest law firm, based in Evanston, Illinois, that represents inmates on death row.

Because of the small size of the firm, all work at the MCJ is done by two partners, a handful of volunteer lawyers, and the summer interns. I enjoyed a tremendous amount of responsibility throughout the summer. I was assigned to research and write portions of briefs that our office filed with the Sixth and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeal. I accompanied my supervisor to an Indiana prison where we met with several of our clients and updated them on the status of their cases. And by the end of the summer, I was sufficiently well-versed in federal habeas proceedings that I was able to pen the first draft of a certiorari petition that was filed in the United States Supreme Court.

Given its limited resources, the MCJ relies on programs like Northwestern's SFPIF to make it financially feasible for public-interest-minded law students to accept unpaid summer positions. My SFPIF grant made it possible for the MCJ to provide zealous representation to its clients, many of whom are appealing major instances of procedural unfairness that occurred in their original trial.

Montana Justice Project • Missoula, MT
Brooke Berens, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

A SFPIF grant allowed me to spend the summer working with the Montana Justice Project, a new nonprofit legal organization that fills the gaps left by traditional legal services. In this small office I got to work on a wide range of projects, from landlord-tenant disputes and parenting plans to prisoner's rights and criminal defense of undocumented immigrants. Unlike most summer associate positions with law firms, I was able to work directly with clients and make important decisions along with my supervisor.

New York Civil Liberties Union • New York City, NY
Tameka Beckford-Young, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

This summer I worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York State affiliate of the ACLU. My SFPIF grant allowed me to accept this internship and live in New York, despite the fact that the position was unpaid.

The NYCLU, much like the ACLU, is a public interest organization dedicated to civil rights and civil liberties; and it depends on the guarantees of the constitution to advance its legal claims and policy goals. Much of my summer was spent researching and writing memos; but, I can say that the issues for which I was responsible were so interesting, that it really was never a bore. My most interesting research assignment was one concerning demonstrators' first amendment rights to protest on public sidewalk. In addition to doing the standard case law research, I was also able to observe the protest in action -- the demonstrators' form of protest and their interactions/altercations with the police -- which proved very helpful in writing the memo. I was also given the responsibility to review the complaint served by the restaurant that was the target of the protest. After reviewing and researching the restaurants' claims, I met with the committee that would ultimately decide whether or not take the case and shared my findings and my opinions. I really felt like my work and thoughts on the matter were considered seriously by the attorneys in the room. In addition to research on a number of various legal issues, I was able to observe a pregnancy discrimination trial in federal court, a 2nd Circuit appellate argument, a scheduling conference, depositions and meetings with the AUSAs. Finally, because the national office of the ACLU was located in the same building as the NYCLU, I was able to hear some great speakers, including Anthony Romero, the ACLU's Executive Director! The icing in the cake was working with really great people who I am sure that I will turn to throughout my legal career.

Office of the Appellate Defender • New York City, NY
Martin Lijtmaer, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

I spent the summer as a legal intern at the Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) in New York City. I was only one of two interns and was given interesting, rewarding work from the outset. The first several weeks on the job, I worked on research projects and sat in on a moot court as well as attended the subsequent real oral arguments at the appellate division in downtown NYC (1st department). Due to my fluency in Spanish, I took several trips to neighboring prisons where I accompanied several attorneys to translate conversations with clients. My primary work at the OAD consisted of working on my own case which I handled from the very preliminary stages- contacting the client, and ensuring that the record was complete, to analyzing the record and researching the legal issues. By the end of the summer, I completed the brief and best of all, have been invited back to NYC to argue the case in front of the appellate division at some point in the future. The best thing of being on the job was being treated as, and working as a real attorney!

Office of the Illinois Attorney General • Chicago, IL
Laura Neumeister, Class of 2007
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

This past summer I drafted a complaint against an international Fortune 500 corporation, worked on highly controversial and political litigation, and helped initiate important policy protecting women's rights in Illinois. I was able to take on this responsibility and challenge myself at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General's Special Litigation Division because I received a Len Rubinowitz Fellowship. Not only does SFPIF provide students with essential summer funding for important work, but it also gives students the opportunity to participate in and lead large scale fundraising activities with other public interest-minded students. SFPIF is an essential part of Northwestern's public interest community!

Office of the Public Defender • New London, CT
Annie Castellani, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

I had a fabulous summer as an intern at the New London, CT Office of the Public Defender. Since the public defender works exclusively with indigent clients, the office cannot pay interns. Fortunately, my SFPIF grant allowed me to seize the opportunity to work at the pd and do some really substantive work. Here I was able to actually stand up in court and represent clients for their bond hearings, interview clients who were in jail awaiting such bond hearings, sit in court and monitor the daily goings on in an American courthouse, negotiate with prosecutors, hang out in the judges chambers and watch pre-trial negotiations, and even try my hand at a cross examination of a police officer. In addition, I did some legal research on the constitutionality of a vehicle search, which I turned into a motion to suppress. I would not have been able to have such an educational, exciting and rewarding experience without the generosity of SFPIF. Thanks SFPIF!

Philadelphia Legal Assistance • Philadelphia, PA
Margaret Robinson, Class of 2007
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

I spent the summer working in the Consumer/Housing Department of Philadelphia Legal Assistance, one of Philadelphia's large legal services organizations. I worked on cases involving mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcy, and predatory lending. The work was very exciting, fast-paced, and rewarding. In one case, an elderly woman came to us a week before her house was to be sold at auction. We were able to get an emergency petition granted to postpone the sale while we worked on her case, and were successful in opening the foreclosure judgment against her. My SFPIF grant made is possible for me to do hands-on work that had a direct, immediate impact on the basic needs of poor people in Philadelphia. My experience was very informative and gave me the opportunity to take on significant responsibility. I am grateful for SFPIF and the generosity of its supporters.

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law • Chicago, IL
Jennifer Hrycyna, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

I spent my summer at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. I learned a great deal from observing how this organization functions and the varied approaches they take toward their ultimate goal of ending poverty. I did research on issues such as child care worker collective bargaining in Illinois, comparisons of TANF grants across different states, and directives on non-discrimination within the Illinois Education Code. In addition, I participated in a nationwide class-action lawsuit concerning a new law requiring Medicaid applicants and recipients to prove their citizenship with a passport, birth certificate, or other means, which poses a particular hardship on persons born in homes instead of hospitals, disaster victims, and mentally challenged individuals. I participated in the project from the start, assisting with preliminary strategy decisions and recruiting plaintiffs. I also assisted in writing briefs and researching various issues, and got to see the case argued in court. Overall it was a great experience to take what I learned in school and actually put it to use and gain insight into an advocacy world I hope to someday be a part of. Thanks SFPIF!

Southern Center for Human Rights • Atlanta, GA
Mugambi Jouet, Class of 2006
2005 SFPIF grant recipient

I spent the summer working for the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. I did not have time to get bored throughout my internship, as I spent countless hours contributing to the Center's two main objectives: 1) Saving the lives of indigent persons on death row by challenging their capital sentences at all stages of the appellate process; and 2) Improving the miserable conditions of life of prisoners in Georgia and Alabama by conducting class action suits under the 8th Amendment's cruel and unusual punishment standard.

It is a challenging struggle to try and protect the fundamental human dignity of some of the most underprivileged and least popular members of society. Nevertheless, the Center's work has left me with an uplifted spirit. Needless to say that the Center's work is extremely compelling, as the critical issues that it tackles everyday are matters of fundamental importance. Indeed, a society's degree of civilization is measured by its willingness to respect the basic inalienable human rights of all its citizens.

Without SFPIF's assistance, my internship experience would not have been possible. I feel extremely grateful to all the people who have contributed to SFPIF's mission. Thank you!

United Nations Development Program • Washington, D.C.
Noah Bialostozky, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

With the support of a SFPIF grant, I was able to spend the past summer working for the International Legal Resource Center (ILRC), a joint project between the ABA and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) located in Washington D.C. As the legal research intern, I had the opportunity to respond to various queries from UNDP Country offices around the world. UNDP country offices submit requests to the ILRC regarding specific questions of international law or best practices in a more general area of the law. For example, my work included an advisory memo responding to a UNDP/Kenya query regarding the conditions for the legality of forced evictions in international law, as well as a response to UNDP/Azerbaijan on best practices in civil service commission reform. Throughout the summer I was exposed to a wide variety of topical issues in international legal reform. Because of the SFPIF grant I received, I was able to gain a better understanding of my own career interests in international legal reform. Without the grant it would have been very difficult to take this very important step in my career development and I am therefore very grateful to the organization and its donors.

U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia • Washington, D.C.
Marissa Downs, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

This summer, I was one of 60 law clerks working for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington D.C. (USADC). I was assigned to the office's Narcotics and Organized Crime Section where, in addition to performing several in-depth research assignments for my supervising attorney, I helped draft pre and post-trial motions to be filed in court. Compared to other U.S. Attorney's Offices, the USADC is unique in that it prosecutes ÒstateÓ as well as federal crimes. In addition, because of the office's large size and D.C. location, the USADC is involved with a wider variety (and a larger volume) of cases than its sister offices. As a result, I was exposed to a wide range of litigation - everything from sex abuse and homicide cases to prosecutions of international drug rings and alleged terrorists. Because my internship was such an eye-opening and amazing experience, I feel completely indebted to SFPIF. Thanks to the grant I received, I was able to explore a potential career path and an interest in trial law in a way that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.

U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin
Alfred Wang, Class of 2006
2005 SFPIF grant recipient

This summer, I helped prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin protect the weak, punish wrongdoers, and serve justice. Most of my time was spent helping the USAO prosecute two white-collar defendants. One defendant, who operated a Ponzi scheme, defrauded hundreds of investors, including factory workers who lost their pensions or senior citizens who took out second mortgages, out of millions of dollars. When the defendant filed a motion to suppress incriminating evidence, I researched Fourth Amendment law, found that the defendant lacked the standing to challenge the admission of the evidence, and drafted a brief that will hopefully convince the magistrate judge to rule in the government's favor (the matter is still pending).

My other important assignment was a case that started with a 911 call about a burglary in progress. When the police arrived on the scene, the officers entered the property and swept the premises for the perpetrator or possible victims. The officers did not find anything, except a table covered with credit cards that showed that the defendant was operating a massive credit card and identity scam.

Without funding from the Student Funded Public Interest Fellowship, I could not have afforded to work without payment at the U.S. Attorney's Office. I'm grateful to the organization and everyone who contributes to SFPIF's fundraising efforts!

U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois • Chicago, IL
Greg Bassi, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

I used my SFPIF grant to intern at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. I was provided various assignments from Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) in numerous different sections of the Criminal Division and Civil Division. I spent my summer working on interesting and high-profile cases in areas such as public corruption, immigration, felony possession, and narcotics trafficking. I worked closely with many talented AUSAs who helped me gain valuable experience. I prepared numerous legal memos, drafted motions, charging documents, and plea agreements, and assisted with trial preparation throughout the summer. As a result of my experience, I am very open to the possibility of returning to the U.S. Attorney's Office some day. My SFPIF grant assisted with all of my summer costs. I am very grateful that SFPIF helped make such a valuable summer experience possible.

U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York • New York City, NY
Eric Husketh, Class of 2005
2005 SFPIF grant recipient

I used my second SFPIF grant to intern at the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. I was assigned to an Assistant US Attorney working in the Public Corruption Unit of the Criminal Division. I spent my summer working on extremely fascinating and high-profile cases (most of which I can't talk about yet!). Since these were public and private corruption cases, I gained a strong sense that I was using my legal education to make our country a better place‰ÛÓby helping hold some really lousy characters accountable for the various ways they harm global society. I worked very closely with a supervisor who was intent on helping me gain the maximum benefit from my experience, and who allowed me great access to the resources, information, and other people involved with our cases. Through regular lectures and tons of courtroom exposure, I learned more about the internal workings of the DOJ than I had expected, and feel confident that I would enjoy working there at some point. Indeed, this internship has already raised a few eyebrows in interviews, and potential employers are clearly impressed. SFPIF helped defray the astronomical cost of living in NYC, and I'm extremely grateful, as this intense and enlightening experience would not have been possible otherwise! I should also mention that my SFPIF grant last year took me to the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania, and I credit that prosecutorial experience with helping me get this year's equally prestigious internship.

Whitman-Walker Clinic Legal Services Program • Washington, DC
Lindsay Foye, Class of 2008
2006 SFPIF grant recipient

Thanks to SFPIF, I was able to accept an unpaid legal internship this past summer which I believe was more rewarding, instructive, and enjoyable than most paid summer positions. My employer, the Whitman-Walker Clinic, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing health care and other services at little or no cost to people living with HIV/AIDS in the Washington, DC area. While I was there, the Legal Services Program consisted of only 5 full-time attorneys, 1 administrative assistant, and 6 unpaid interns. Despite these limited resources, the attorneys provided us with about a week of substantive training in the areas of law most relevant to our clients' needs: employment discrimination, public benefits, immigration, confidentiality, and insurance. I spent most of my time at work interviewing clients, discussing their cases with the attorneys, and then counseling them on steps to take. Most of my clients needed help applying for either Social Security disability benefits or for HIV waivers (as a precursor to applying for legal permanent residency).

I consistently found my work at Whitman-Walker to be engrossing and a great deal of fun. The attorneys and other clinic staff members were always approachable and ready to teach us what we needed to know. I appreciated the opportunity to learn about a variety of legal issues and to interact with numerous clients everyday, most of whom were fascinating to talk to and extremely grateful for our help. I can't help but note that I seem to be more enthusiastic about my summer experience than most of my classmates. Thank you, SFPIF, for what was probably the best part of my legal education.