Checking in with the Dagen Fellows

June 17, 2013

One of the main tenets of a SLU LAW education is encouraging lawyers to serve others. The Irvin and Maggie Dagen Public Interest Fellowships provide stipends to students who obtain volunteer positions with public interest organizations for the summer. Funded by the School of Law, the Public Interest Law Group (PILG) and the Dagen Fellowship Fund, the fellowships are awarded to law students who are committed to working in public interest law.

This year, $94,000 was distributed among 60 students to work in positions at various judicial and government offices and nonprofit organizations across the country. Several of these fellowship recipients will check in with us throughout the summer to give a glimpse into their summer away from SLU LAW.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin’s Office, Washington, D.C.

Rising 2L Kate Durkin served on Senator Durbin’s Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights.

“I helped subcommittee counsel prep for multiple hearings, including the hearing on Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. I researched and prepared memoranda for the chief counsel and Sen. Durbin to brief them on the relevant legal issues.  I also helped draft talking points for the hearing and questions for the senator to ask the witnesses.  Additionally, I cite checked and edited potential bill amendments.”

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles

Rising 3L dual-degree student Srishti Miglani is interning at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in the Communicable Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) Division. The CDCP Division is composed of five programs, including Acute Communicable Disease Control, Immunizations, Public Health Laboratory, Tuberculosis Control, and Veterinary Public Health.

“I am working with Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, Director of the CDCP Division, to help further policy, regulatory and legislative initiatives that CDCP’s programs are involved with or would like to pursue in the future. I am currently drafting a policy report for the Tuberculosis Control Program recommending changes to the TB screening and control policies and procedures in the local community.

“Also, I am assisting Professor Alexander Capron, 2013 Network for Public Health Law (NPHL) Scholar-in-Residence. Scholars-in-Residence is a fellowship program sponsored by NPHL and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to bring the expertise of esteemed legal scholars to assist public health agencies in tackling pressing health issues. Professor Capron is a university professor at USC and is also the Scott H. Bice Chair in Healthcare Law, Policy and Ethics at the Gould School of Law. During his time at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, he will be examining the federal rules on human subjects research relating to the surveillance of pathogens and viruses.

“This internship is helping me understand the interaction between public policy, health policy and public health law. My work has given me a glimpse of how epidemiological data is used to understand and draft health policy, regulations and legislation at the local, state and federal levels. I am looking forward to the many learning opportunities that lie ahead.”

The Clinic, Kansas City, Mo.

Rising 3L Eli MremaI is working at The Clinic in Kansas City, Mo., a non-profit removal defense firm.

“We work with immigrants who are facing removal (deportation) and are unable to pay for legal services for a private immigration attorney. Though we work alongside a small immigration law firm, independently we only have one attorney, two support staff and myself on a daily basis. In my position I help throughout the entire process, which includes the initial client meeting, research for the legal claim, drafting of the documents to the court, attending court for master and individual hearings as well as a little help with fundraising for The Clinic.” 

Washoe County Public Defender’s Office, Reno, Nev.

Rising 2L Kristin Swain (center) is spending the summer at the Washoe County Public Defender's office. “We are researching, preparing motions and trial memos, as well as shadowing our mentor attorneys in court. One great part of working for this office is the wide range of law we have been exposed to including juvenile, mental health court, family law, and criminal law at all levels!”

Weber County Attorney’s Office, Ogden, Utah

Rising 4L dual-degree student Steve Loos (pictured, second from left) is working in the Weber County Attorney's Office. The Weber County Attorney is an elected official with a four-year term of office and is independent of the Utah Attorney General.

“Under the third year practice rule in Utah, I am able to try misdemeanor cases under the supervision of a licensed attorney. So far I have conducted an evidentiary hearing in Justice Court and have tried a retail theft case in Juvenile Court. I have a jury trial set for June 28 in District Court.”

Clark County District Attorney’s Office, Las Vegas

Rising 3L Kayla Williams works in Las Vegas for the Clark County District Attorney’s Office. “In the mornings I am assigned to one of the general litigation teams where I am practicing under the Nevada Student Practice Certification. I have conducted an argument for a probation revocation, a preliminary hearing for fraud and a traffic violation trial. I have a jury trial coming up in July, for a forgery case. I get to conduct a direct examination of the victim as well as conduct the voir dire and witness preparation.

“In the afternoons I am assigned to the Appellate Division, were I draft post-conviction and appellate briefs for the office, as well as conduct research assignments for petitions for rehearings. I just went on a ride along with the LVMPD department, and this Thursday (June 20) I will be observing an autopsy.”

BENNU, Lake Bluff, Ill.

Rising 3L Adrienne Thiry is spending her summer volunteering at BENNU Legal Services, a nonprofit legal aid organization located outside Chicago in Lake Bluff, Ill. The organization provides low-cost legal aid and education to help families and individuals new to the United States to integrate. 

“I have been working mostly on family and immigration cases and am going through a continuous tutorial on immigration law and the various visas on both the family-related and business-related sides. Aside from lessons and assignments on understanding the prevalent laws, research for me has included U-Visas and any rules or restrictions placed on clients who have not yet reached permanent residency; gathering client information into workable charts and piecing them into the relevant rules; and doing lots of research on how the laws I am learning fit into how you interview and consult clients, such as how to ask specific questions to get a fuller understanding of how the laws can be applied to each client to maximize the potential of helping them.”

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Kansas City, Mo.

Rising 3Ls Allison Fouts and David Fuchs are both interning at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District. The Kansas City, Mo., office serves the district's Western and St. Joseph divisions.

Allison writes: “I am placed with one other intern in the violent crimes strike force unit and will also be doing some work regarding monetary penalties. To date, I have worked on various research projects for the attorneys and have had the opportunity to attend court proceedings each day. I have also been working on the petty docket and already served as the lead for two cases. I appeared before the chief magistrate judge and was prepped for trial, but was able to get my defendant to agree to a guilty plea.”

David’s take: “I'm in the Civil Division working primarily on health care fraud cases under Assistant U.S. Attorney Cindi Woolery. However, I am also working on some defense work for a torts claim against the Postal Service and some civil prosecution on behalf of the USDA for violation of a wetlands easement. More generally, as a part of the intern program, we will be visiting the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., handle a federal petty docket case, regularly attend federal proceedings and work in conjunction with the AUSAs on case work as they see fit. So far it has been an incredibly rewarding experience.”

Pennsylvania Governor's Office of General Counsel, Harrisburg, Pa.

Rising 3L Sarah Mioduski’s has a summer externship Pennsylvania’s Department of Insurance- Medical Care and Availability and Reduction of Error Fund. Mcare is a special fund within the Pennsylvania State Treasury established to ensure reasonable compensation for persons injured due to medical negligence, and provide guidance to medical insurers and their beneficiaries. Money in the fund is used to pay claims against participating health care providers and eligible entities for losses or damages awarded in medical professional liability actions in excess of basic insurance coverage (“primary coverage”) provided by primary professional liability insurance companies (“primary carriers”) or self-insurers. 

“Currently, I assess claims that medical insurers file with the insurance department. Mainly, I work with Pennsylvania insurance and malpractice law. Additionally, I assist counsel to ensure compliance and adherence to the provisions of the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act, and its attendant regulations.”

Misdemeanor and Traffic Division of the Allen County Prosecutor's Office, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Rising 3L Christine Archer has been working in the Misdemeanor and Traffic Division of the Allen County Prosecutor's Office in Fort Wayne, Ind.

“It has been an awesome experience! I have been in court every day. I have done initial hearings, probable cause hearings and infraction trials. I have also helped with depositions, pre-trial conferences and have done some research for felony. I have learned a great deal and LOVE all of the courtroom time I am getting!”


Summer Reflections: 2L Michael Dowd-Nieto Shares Experience at Law Program in Madrid

Second-year law student Michael Dowd-Nieto experienced Madrid as a student and as an intern at a Spanish law firm.

Summer Reflections: 2L Melissa DeClue Interns with Aircraft Manufacturer Airbus in Toulouse, France

Second-year law student Melissa DeClue spent the first half of her summer taking classes in Madrid, Spain, and the second half interning for aircraft manufacturer Airbus in Toulouse, France.

Summer Reflections: James Callahan IV Interns at CDC

Third-year law student James Callahan IV fulfilled his dream of working for the CDC over the summer as a public health law intern.

Summer Reflections: 3L Aida Herenda Discusses Her Internship at St. Jude

Third-year health law student Aida Herenda spent the summer in Memphis, Tennessee, working as a legal intern in the Office of Legal Services at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.