This summer, I am interning at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. At the Legal Aid Society, the attorneys are committed to “Making Justice Real” for their clients. The organization is composed of 4 practice areas which are, Consumer Law, Domestic Violence/Family Law, Housing Law, and Public Benefits Law. This summer, I will be working in the housing unit. The housing unit is the biggest area of practice at Legal Aid. A majority of the housing cases that legal attorneys work on are centered on evictions.
In the District of Columbia, there is a two tier court system. There is the lower level court system, the Superior Court and the Court of Appeals (which is equivalent to a state’s supreme court). This two tier system is unique to D.C. due to it operation as a city-state. Fun Fact: Judges in D.C. are not elected but appointed by the President and confirmed by Congress. Currently, there are vacant Judges seats on both the Superior Court level and the Court of Appeals level. This has resulted in Judges having to hear more cases than they normally would. Housing matters are heard in Landlord Tenant Court, which is apart of the Superior Court system. The Landlord Tenant Court has its own building due to the high volume of cases that occur daily. During my first week, I was able to take a tour of Landlord Tenant Court. On any given day, there are approximately 160 cases on the docket.
The District of Columbia has one of the highest income gaps in the country. This has led to wide gentrification throughout the city. Historically, D.C was a city that had a majority African American population. However, many of the families that have been here for a long time are being pushed out of the city in to areas of Maryland and Virginia. There is a book entitled, Dream City that goes into depth about the racial makeup of the city. It’s a good read for those interested in learning more about D.C.. The majority of clients that Legal Aid serve are apart minority groups.
I am very excited to be working at this amazing organization for the summer. As someone that is very much interested in law and social justice, the Legal Aid Society seems to be the perfect fit for me. I have academic, career, and personal goals for the summer. My academic goal is to be able to apply legal terms and concepts that I have learned in my legal studies courses to real world cases. My career goal is to learn more about Public Interest/Poverty Law. My personal goal is to develop and improve different skills that I have. Rather it be in foreign language, oral and written communication, or analytical skills.
I am apart of a robust internship program. There are many things I have to look forward to this Summer, including being able to go to the Supreme Court. There are a total of 11 interns in my cohort (8 law students and 3 undergraduate students). I’m excited to get to know and learn from them. Week One was a success, and I can’t wait to start “Making Justice Real” throughout my internship.