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Public Interest Law Project

Michael Cowgill

June 01, 2013

Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services

The PILP stipend allowed me to work for Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services (CCILS). CCILS is a small nonprofit that has six attorneys, four BIA accredited representatives, and a legal assistant. The benefit of unpaid interns to CCILS is immense. The most dramatic impact is that the attorneys’ extremely heavy caseload is shared amongst more people enabling CCILS to do more in less time. This is a benefit to CCILS’ clients who are often victims of crime or part of a legally underrepresented population. 

I had the great experience of working on cases from intake to submission with United States Citizenship & Immigration Services. I got to see a wide array of immigration cases, handled a personal caseload with direct attorney supervision and feedback, worked directly with clients, and attended immigration adjustment of status interviews. The majority of my work focused on immigration relief for victims of domestic violence under the Violence Against Women Act or immigration relief for victims of crimes who assisted in the investigation of those crimes. Additionally, I worked on family based immigration cases, temporary protected status cases, and consular processing.

My summer experience was both rewarding and extremely insightful. I could not have had this great summer experience without the PILP stipend. Anyone interested in pursuing an unpaid public interest summer internship should certainly volunteer for PILP and apply for a stipend. Not only does he stipend benefit your own summer, but the work you do to raise funds for the stipends also benefits many other students doing similarly great work.

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