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Elon Law students excel in summer internships

Members of Elon Law's Classes of 2012 and 2013 served in all branches of government, in public interest positions, and in law firms and the offices of corporate counsel this summer. Many served in cities and towns across North Carolina, while others held positions in locations across the country, including New York, NY, Washington, DC, New Orleans, LA, Columbia, SC, and Fort Worth, TX.

"The job offered a chance to experience a wide variety of law. A staff attorney remains on the cutting edge of legal precedent because the cases they work on soon become law." - Brennan Aberle

Click PHOTO GALLERY in the Links & Multimedia section adjacent to this article to view a slideshow of Elon Law summer employment experiences.

Highlights of their summer work include:

Brennan Aberle, L’12, clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, Staff Attorney’s Office, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Aberle reviewed cases appealed to the Fifth Circuit, including direct criminal appeals, habeas corpus petitions, civil rights actions, and immigration cases. He wrote memos and drafted opinions to the Court of Appeals, recommending decisions according to settled law or recommending oral argument.

Danielle Appelman, L’12, split her summer work experiences. During the first half of the summer, Appelman clerked for the Honorable William Reingold, Chief District Court Judge for Forsyth County in North Carolina. Appelman assisted in analyzing legal issues and drafting opinions. During the second half of the summer, she interned at Forman Rossabi Black in Greensboro. During the internship, she prepared legal memos and filings, and conducted research on a variety of civil and criminal matters.

Melissa Apperson, L’12, served as a summer judicial clerk for the Honorable Robert N. Hunter, Jr., North Carolina Court of Appeals, in Raleigh, NC. Apperson analyzed criminal, civil, and administrative law cases before the court, researched law and drafted judicial opinions.

"I learned more about trial and appellate procedure in my three months as a judicial clerk than I ever hoped to learn. I also got more experience writing than I ever expected. I was writing and researching every day. I produced about 7 opinions in three months. The writing was very intensive and incredibly beneficial." - Melissa Apperson

Pamela Boeka, L’13, served in the Guilford County Public Defender's Office in High Point, NC. Boeka’s internship included statute and case law research, and reporting on relevant rules related to cases. She interviewed clients, met with the investigators assigned to cases and supported preparation of them to be witnesses for trial. She also prepared draft questions for jury selection, observed court proceedings, and examined and discussed case strategy with her supervisor.

Amy Brodland, L’12, interned with in-house counsel for Lend Lease in New York, NY. Lend Lease has been involved in the creation of many high profile properties, including Sydney Olympic Village and Trump Tower in Chicago. The company is the construction manager for the $360 million Memorial and Museum to be built at Ground Zero in New York City on behalf of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. In her internship, Brodland assisted in reviewing and negotiating contracts, conducted research, produced correspondence, and participated in the overall day-to-day work of in-house counsel.

Whitney Butcher, L’12, interned in the Law Office of Kurt J. Olson in Raleigh. Through the internship, Butcher gained experience in environmental law and complex civil litigation. She assisted Mr. Olson in his capacity as general counsel for the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association. In this role, she worked on emerging energy issues, policy alternatives, and adherence to North Carolina's renewable energy law.

"The experience working at Lend Lease illuminated a different aspect of the legal profession that I had yet to observe. The in house team worked almost purely on negotiating contracts, with very little focus on litigation. Previous to this summer all of my work experience had been in litigation so this perspective was a welcome change." - Amy Brodland

Nicole Catton, Heather Deal, Sarah Dixon, Carrie Johnston, Gwendolyn Lewis, and Crystal Sumner interned at Legal Aid of North Carolina. Johnston, L’12, was Legal Aid’s Martin Luther King, Jr. summer intern for the LANC-Greensboro office, focusing on employment and housing cases. Catton and Deal, L’12, interned with the Domestic Unit, where they helped draft domestic violence protective orders and consent custody orders and made appearances in domestic violence hearings. Dixon, L’13, worked with a staff attorney at Legal Aid focusing on Housing and Employment Security Commission law. Lewis, L’13, interned in the Older Adults Unit, handling all work for anyone over 60 years old. Sumner alternated between Legal Aid’s family, benefits and HEEC (housing, employment, education and consumer) units. She conducted research, wrote memos, handled client interviews, negotiations, and more.

Phil Clontz, L’12, interned at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC. He researched and analyzed tort claims against Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and employees, permissible under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Clontz handled both medical and non-medical malpractice claims, many of which were submitted to the office through re-consideration via the 23 Regional Counsels across the country.

"From day one, I was immersed in a large environmental law and hazardous waste case, gaining practical experience in pre-trial procedure and the discovery process, mediation, and helping an attorney prepare for oral argument before the North Carolina Court of Appeals. North Carolina is the first and only southeastern state to have a renewable energy law, and I was able to work to see that its standards are upheld and that alternative energy sources are utilized in the state." - Whitney Butcher

L. Collin Cooper, L’12, clerked at the North Carolina Court of Appeals in Raleigh for the Honorable Linda Stephens. During his time, he conducted extensive research on various civil and criminal issues and drafted bench briefs and opinions for the Court.

Alvaro De La Calle, L’12, was a law clerk for the Chapman Law Firm, an immigration and nationality law firm in Greensboro, NC. During his time at the firm, De La Calle drafted Family Based immigration petitions, compiled various U-Visa applications, and communicated with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. He also drafted legal memos regarding U-Visa's and Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude under INA 212(a)(2)(A).

Janison Dillon, L’13, interned at Wyatt Early Harris Wheeler LLP in High Point, NC. Her work focused primarily in commercial real estate law. She also worked with attorneys in corporate and litigation sections.

Joe Fulton, L’12, interned with the N.C. Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, in Raleigh. He served as a summer clerk in the insurance section of the Attorney General's office, researching practical questions that impacted the operations of entities, like whether or not certain business activities subject an entity to licensure. He also researched questions that affected the outcome of litigation, like whether new evidence can be admitted during judicial review of an agency decision.

Karima Grady, L’13, served in the Washington, DC office of U.S. Representative Brad Miller (NC). Grady prepared briefs related to Congressional hearings, engaged in constituent services, and supported activities of the Congressional office. She attended Congressional hearings in both the House and Senate that featured senior members of the Obama administration testifying on matters ranging from foreign affairs, to science and technology, to government oversight and reform among others. Grady was also a Summer Scholar through the Truman National Security Project, participating in a 5-week lecture series at Johns Hopkins aimed at raising awareness on International Security Issues.

"The attorneys I worked with went out of their way to provide me with a great experience. Almost every day someone would invite me to a client meeting or a court proceeding. That was in addition to all of the substantive research and writing assignments my supervisors assigned to me. I observed several different types of administrative proceedings including department of insurance hearings, state employment hearings at the office of administrative courts, and a petition for judicial review of an administrative decision." - Joe Fulton

Jim Grant, L’12, clerked with the Honorable James A. Wynn, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Raleigh, NC.

Jill Kirshner, L’13, interned in the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office in Fort Worth, TX. Kirshner served in the misdemeanor department, focusing primarily on driving while intoxicated cases. Her supervisor wrote the DWI manual for Texas. Kirshner participated in trials under the supervision of a court partner, prepared cases for trial, obtained evidence, and interviewed witnesses. Her participation in the courtroom included: opening statements, direct-examinations, cross-examinations, introduction of evidence, and closing statements.

Pamela Lawrence, L’12, interned with Judge James L. Gale, North Carolina Business Court, in Greensboro, NC.

Jennifer Matthews, L’12, interned at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of North Carolina in Greensboro. Her assignments ranged from writing responses for prisoner litigation claims to calling the docket in federal district court. Matthews also represented the Government in a sentencing proceeding, several arraignments, and detention hearings.

Melodie Menzer, L’13, worked at Guardian Ad Litem in Raleigh. Menzer wrote memos and appellate briefs, and attended court proceedings regarding juvenile abuse, neglect and dependency.

Scott Morgan, L’12, clerked with the Honorable Patricia Timmons-Goodson, Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, in Raleigh, NC.

Austin Morris, L’12, interned with the N.C. Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Labor Section, in Raleigh, N.C.

"The experience allowed me to deconstruct my studies thus far and trace legislation that I will argue as a lawyer or base holdings on as a judge to its origin. I saw how politicians, lobbyists, non-profits and other parties balance the needs of the people they serve with the resources available and their political affiliations to produce the body of law which governs us. It gave me an even wider grasp of the implications of my legal education and the range of opportunities to which I can put it to use." - Karima Grady

Sheila Marie Sazehn, L’13, interned in the South Carolina Attorney General's Office, in Columbia, SC. Sazehn’s internship supported efforts at the state level to implement and enforce the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), aimed at reducing the frequency of domestic violence. She supported two main prosecutors that handled domestic violence and sexual assault cases, preparing court documents, conducting legal research, and traveling across South Carolina to attend hearings. She helped the VAWA section prepare for trainings around the state, to teach prosecutors, police officers, victim advocates, and judges (among others) about criminal domestic violence (CDV). She assisted the section with the Silent Witness ceremony as well, which is a yearly ceremony that takes place in October to remember the homicide victims of CDV in South Carolina.

Kate Shimansky, L’13, worked for the Orleans Public Defenders in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her office provided indigent criminal defendants with legal representation at the District Court level.

Ben Snyder, L’12, interned in the Office of Fred T. Hamlet in Greensboro, NC. Snyder conducted research and helped Mr. Hamlet formulate litigation strategies in the various labor and employment law cases. He helped draft complaints, answers, motions, briefs, and discovery documents.

Alex Walton, L’12, interned in the NC Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, in Raleigh, NC.

Markeshia Wilkens, L’13, interned at the Public Defender’s Office in Greensboro, where she researched in preparation for criminal trials. She also had the opportunity to see jail interviews and court proceedings.

"Casebooks cannot prepare students for the enormous disparities and injustices that plague our criminal justice system. I believe that indigent defense is the true battlefield for fighting injustice in our criminal justice system and I was honored to serve the New Orleans community this summer with the Orleans Public Defenders." - Kate Shimansky

Mark York, L’12, interned with Judge James L. Gale, North Carolina Business Court, in Greensboro, NC.










Reporting and photography for this article provided by Danielle Appelman, L'12, and Ryan Brown, L'13.

Philip Craft,
8/30/2011 10:20 PM