Elon Law students advance federal legislation, state law, and private-sector cases through summer internships

Members of Elon Law’s Classes of 2011 and 2012 served in all three branches of government at federal, state and local levels, and in numerous private sector positions, through summer employment experiences this year.

Highlights of their summer work include:

Elon Law students Ryan Ash, Collin Cooper, and Marina Emory

Ryan Ash, L’11, interned in the Office of the Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Ash worked primarily in the Construction Litigation Section of the Civil Litigation Division. Ash’s work included assistance on a case dealing with the Commonwealth’s administrative process and the rescission and repudiation of a settlement agreement between the Commonwealth and a private contract. This work entailed drafting two briefs for a circuit court, two affidavits and two requests for admissions.

Collin Cooper, L’12, interned in the Office of United States Senator Kay Hagan in Washington, D.C. In the position, Cooper researched pending legislation and helped to draft bills sponsored by Senator Hagan. He also attended several U.S. Senate Committee hearings, witnessing the nomination and confirmation of circuit court judges, U.S. ambassadors, and the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. During his time in the Senate office, Cooper communicated with Senator Hagan’s constituents from North Carolina about the needs of the state.

Marina Emory, L’12, clerked at the Alamance County District Attorney’s Office in Graham, N.C., working on cases ranging from drug possession and drinking and driving to felony child abuse and domestic violence.

“Some of my most meaningful experiences came from my work with victims of domestic violence,” Emory said. “Working with these victims was often challenging, but it was rewarding to assist in the development of cases on their behalf. Seeing the dedication and high standards of professionalism demonstrated by the entire office was both inspirational and a motivation to continue to challenge myself to strive to be the best lawyer in my field.”

Elon Law students Brendan Garcia, Keith Helsabeck, Matthew Krueger-Andes, and Carrie Johnston

Brendan Garcia, L’11, served as a summer law clerk at the Board of Veteran’s Appeals in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in Washington, D.C, He was responsible for writing tentative decisions for review by a Veterans Law Judge. The cases before the Board were on appeal from regional offices. Claims generally involved disability compensation. The majority of the claimants were suffering either from a combat injury or from an illness or injury caused as a result of a combat event.

“My experience assisting in the adjudication of these claims was extremely rewarding, because I was able to impact directly the quality of life for these disabled veterans,” Garcia said.

Keith Helsabeck, L’11, and Matthew Krueger-Andes, L’11, interned at Ivey, McClellan, Gatton & Talcott, L.L.P., in Greensboro, N.C. Through client meetings, hearings, and a broad range of research projects, they learned the range of legal and financial options available to clients facing significant debt challenges.

“It was interesting and rewarding work dealing with people who had fallen on hard times and needed the help of serious professionals,” Helsabeck said. “The people at the firm were excellent, and always willing to take the time to teach us something new.”

“I found that in counseling prospective clients, the focus is not on how to go about filing for bankruptcy, but rather, whether bankruptcy is the most viable option in the first place,” Krueger-Andes said. “In working with debtors in a bankruptcy case, the bottom line is that my efforts are focused on helping people regain control of their finances and, more importantly, their lives.”

Carrie Johnston, L’12, served as a legal intern in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights D.C. Enforcement Office. The office works with teachers, students, parents, and school districts in Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to find solutions to civil rights violations in schools and provide technical assistance to prevent future violations. The office receives complaints related to disability discrimination, unequal educational opportunity, racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and discrimination based on national origin. Johnston worked with attorneys to investigate and resolve complaints, conducting legal research and interviews, and writing appeal letters and letters of finding to complainants and recipients.

Elon Law students Grant Sigmon, James Stanton, and Jessica Yanez

Grant Sigmon, L’11, worked for a second summer at Benson Brown & Faucher PLLC, in Greensboro, N.C., where he plans to continue during his last year of law school. In the position, Sigmon helped to prepare clients for mediations and depositions, as well as assisted in the negotiation process during mediations. He conducted initial client interviews, produced legal research, requested, compiled, and organized medical records and bills for personal injury litigation, and made motions in Guilford County Superior Court among a number of activities on behalf of the firm.

James Stanton, L’12, worked with the Greensboro City Attorney’s Office. In the position, Stanton assisted in drafting numerous complaints, waivers, and motions having to do with property rights, employment issues, contracts, and municipal issues. He also assisted city attorneys in matters relating to constitutional, collections, torts, and civil rights issues.

“The City Attorney’s office allowed me the opportunity to observe numerous committee meetings, mediations, negotiations and interviews with various parties to active cases,” Stanton said. “The thing I enjoyed most about working at the City Attorney’s office was the opportunity to work hands on with a number of attorneys in a variety of different practice areas. The attorneys were great about always giving me feed back so every project was a learning experience.”

Jessica Yanez, L’11, worked at two firms over the summer – Chapman Law Firm and Robertson, Medlin & Bloss, PLLC, both in Greensboro. At Chapman Law Firm, where Yanez continues to serve, she worked on a wide range of immigration cases, interacting daily with U.S. embassies, international businesses, and clients from all over the world. At Robertson, Medlin & Bloss, PLLC, Yanez worked in several areas of the law, including business transactions, employment law, litigation, and family law.

“I was able to use what I learned in law school and apply it to real-world cases,” Yanez said. “I enjoy immigration law because I am able to combine my love for the law with my interest in international and cross-cultural issues.”

Click on the E-Cast link to the right of this article for a slideshow highlighting a number of additional summer employment experiences for members of Elon Law’s Classes of 2010 and 2011.

Additional highlights of summer placements for the Classes of 2011 and 2012 include:

• Aramark, Office of the General Counsel, Philadelphia, PA

• Brock & Scott, PLLC, Winston Salem, N.C.

• Carruthers & Roth, PA, Greensboro, N.C.

• Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C., Charlotte, N.C.

• Edelman, Washington, D.C.

• James B. Wilson & Associates, Inc., Winston Salem, N.C.

• Law Firm of Abigail E. Peoples, PLLC, Greensboro, N.C.

• Lanier Law Group, P.A., Greensboro, N.C.

• Law Office of Susan L. Hunt, Greensboro, N.C.

• Law Office of Karen McKeithen Schaede, Greensboro, N.C.

• Law Office of Richard W. Forrester, Greensboro, N.C.

• Law Office of Marquis D. Street, Greensboro, N.C.

• Legal Aid of North Carolina, (various N.C. counties)

• Office of the District Attorney, (various N.C. counties)

• Office of the Public Defender (several N.C. counties)

• Office of the Honorable Alan M. Black, Senior Judge, Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas, Allentown, PA

• Office of the Honorable James Hardin, North Carolina Superior Court, Durham, N.C.

• Office of the Honorable Lindsay R. Davis, North Carolina Superior Court, Greensboro, N.C.

• Office of the Honorable Richard Anthony Paez, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Pasadena, CA

• Office of the Honorable Robert N. Hunter, North Carolina Court of Appeals, Raleigh, N.C.

• Office of U.S. Representative Howard Coble, Greensboro, N.C.

• N.C. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Commissioner, Raleigh, N.C.

• N.C. Department of Commerce, Raleigh, N.C.

• N.C. Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General and Office of the Pardon Attorney, Raleigh, N.C.

• Novant Health, Greensboro, N.C.

• Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, PC, Raleigh, N.C.

• Pinto Coats Kyre & Brown, PLLC, Greensboro, N.C.

• Replacements, Ltd, Greensboro, N.C.

• Schell Bray Aycock Abel & Livingston PLLC, Greensboro, N.C.

• Smith, Debnam, LLP, Raleigh, N.C.

• Sodoma Law, P.C., Charlotte, N.C.

• Teague Campbell Dennis & Gorham, LLP, Raleigh, N.C.

• The Fogle Law Firm, LLC, Charlotte, N.C.