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      Commonwealth Law News

      Law Students Participate in MLK Internship Program

      Martin Luther King, Jr. Internship 2017 participants

      The summer internship program is designed for second- and third-year law students who have a passion for social justice.

      Widener Commonwealth Law students Supriya Philips and John Harris have one common goal – to make sure legal social justice is available to everybody.

      The third-year law students participated this year in the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network's Martin Luther King, Jr. Summer Internship Program. The program offers internships for second- and third-year law students who are social justice oriented and want an opportunity to make a difference.

      During the internship, law students work with clients in unique situations to help them better understand the special legal issues of those living in poverty and low-income communities. Students participate in court and administrative hearings, undertake legal research, and write on actual cases under the supervision of seasoned legal aid attorneys.

      supriya phillips

      Internship Participant  

      Supriya Philips, center, receives her internship certificate.

      The MLK Internship Program also exposes law students to the importance of providing legal services to the community, regardless of clients' ability to pay.

      "The skills that our law students learn during the internship will serve them not only in law school, but throughout their careers," said Widener University Commonwealth Law School Dean Christian Johnson. "We are grateful to have wonderful organizations like the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network that show our students the need for social justice and the difference a lawyer can have in the lives of individuals."

      Harris said one of the most valuable aspects of the internship was the ability to participate in hearings where he gained experience with formal proceedings and worked directly with clients.

      john harris

      Internship Participant  

      John Harris, center, receives his internship certificate.

      "The Pennsylvania Legal Aid ensures their interns will have the opportunity to see the courtroom, draft legal documents, conduct client interviews and manage their own cases," Harris said. "I was able to aid in a family law clinic. During the family law clinic, I helped a staff attorney to teach citizens of the community how to file for custody and custody modifications. In addition, I attended protection from abuse (PFA) hearings. PFA court was eye-opening because I didn't know how big of a problem domestic violence was in communities."

      Harris completed his internship at Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Philips completed her internship at Mid-Penn Legal Services in Harrisburg. Both locations are part of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network.


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