Author: Megan Gilligan, senior
This is the fourth and final post in a series of four posts written by the Summer 2019 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.
Thanks to The Honors Program Summer Fellowship, I was able to work as a student intern for the Pace Women’s Justice Center. PWJC is a nonprofit that advocates for and provides legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, and sexual assault. It also conducts outreach and training sessions on how to interact with victims of abuse as well as how to escape abusive situations.
As an intern, I was able to take part in many different aspects of PWJC’s work. I provided support to attorneys and staff and researched topics relating to individual cases as well as New York State law. I attended client interviews and court proceedings, created Excel spreadsheets for client financials and outreach events, and revised a 150-page resource guide for attorneys on the PWJC legal helpline. Additionally, I attended Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse training sessions and represented PWJC at Family Law, Women’s Advocacy, and Immigrant Advocacy committee meetings. Most importantly, I witnessed the positive impact that PWJC has on so many victims’ lives by providing access to legal services. Many people in abuse situations are not fully aware of their legal rights or are afraid of taking their abusers to court. PWJC works with all of its clients to figure out the best plan for them and coordinates with other organizations to make sure the clients are receiving all the help they need.
As someone who hopes to become an attorney and is currently studying for the LSAT, my internship with the Pace Women’s Justice Center solidified my passion and determination to enter into the legal profession. Through my history classes in the Honors Program, I learned a lot about how law can shape the course of a nation. This internship furthered that understanding by allowing me to see how law can directly affect individual people’s day-to-day lives. It gave me the opportunity to learn from and interact with all sorts of legal professionals from attorneys to paralegals to law students. I was able to see firsthand the dedication of the PWJC staff to do the best they possibly could for their clients and the effect that has on their clients’ lives. I am very grateful to the Honors Program for allowing me the opportunity to have this profound and rewarding summer internship experience; I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer.