June 01, 2014

Gwyn Styarfyr

Northwest Justice Project, Longview, WA

This summer I had the intense pleasure of working with the Northwest Justice Project (NJP) in Longview, Washington. NJP is dedicated to helping impoverished and underprivileged communities navigate court procedure and achieve social and legal justice.

 During my internship I worked on legal issues relating to domestic violence, housing, consumer protection, contracts, felonies, and disabilities. This variety of issues rounded-out my education by directly highlighting the challenges and barriers that underprivileged populations face. It also provided self-awareness on the types of issues that challenge and interest me.

NJP does a lot of groundwork in shaping the laws and helping communities be proactive through education and awareness-building. This focus gave me a lot of courtroom experience and also provided the opportunity to create educational materials for other community organizations, including the Department of Social and Health Services; to educate women on pro se litigation at NJP’s shelter; and to actively raise awareness on victim and trauma issues.

One of the most difficult moments of my internship came when I drafted a motion on an issue of first impression in Washington courts. While unsuccessful, the motion was the most important learning experience I had. It gave me a first-hand understanding of the difficulties of trying to satisfy our client’s interests while appealing to public opinion on a sensitive issue.

NJP was my dream internship from the moment I read their creed, and it would not have been possible to achieve without the PILP stipend. Furthermore, I never would have found this opportunity without the incredible support and encouragement from the PILP board, PILP members, and faculty advisors.