Thanks to the Public Interest Law Project (PILP) at Lewis & Clark Law School, this summer I was able to live and work in Los Angeles. I interned for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and worked in the heart of beautiful downtown Los Angeles. Within the City Attorney’s Office, I interned for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Division. LADWP is the largest municipal water and power utility in the nation, and it was established more than 100 years ago to deliver reliable, safe water and electricity to the residents and businesses of the area.
LADWP is forward-looking and environmentally progressive. It has been promoting policies to cut greenhouse gases, and involved in other initiatives throughout the city. For instance, the La Kretz Innovation Campus is one such project. This space brings together inventors and businesses in one communal, restored building to develop marketable inventions and ideas. Additionally, the La Kretz Innovation Campus has helped reinvent an abandoned part of the city, turning it into a thriving place of business, leisure, and art (think Pearl District and Wynwood). Furthermore, LADWP is one of the utilities that joined the Obama Administration in defending the Clean Power Plan. Moreover, LADWP’s Board of Commissioners has been working toward adopting “equity metrics” to ensure equal service across the city’s diverse population.
I had the opportunity to interact with a majority of the Department’s 38 attorneys and work closely with a handful of them on several legal matters. The attorneys advice and serve as general counsel for LADWP, and as a result, they work on a myriad of matters, ranging from civil litigation, regulatory compliance and enforcement, real estate management, and contract law. Therefore, my work varied from week to week. For instance, in my first week at the office, I worked on settling a question regarding California’s International Commercial Arbitration laws. My second project involved working jointly with an attorney on resolving historical claims of service area jurisdiction that predated fringe agreements – agreements the Department engages in with other utility companies to provide services to their customers located on the fringes of their service area. Throughout the summer, I updated the Department’s Contract Training Manual, which covers the Department’s contracting, expenditure, and transfer practices. A favorite project was contributing to the Department’s Renewable Energy Purchase Power Agreement. A 100-plus page contract form that will be used by the Department to engage in commitments with energy companies for the provision of renewable energy sources as it strives to go fully clean energy in the years to come.
All in all,, the experiences this summer were rewarding on both a personal and professional level. On the personal, I was blessed to live in a city that I cherished as a child because of the abundance of family that lives in the area, and because of the city’s close ties to Mexican culture. As a result, I spent a lot of free time reconnecting with family. On the other hand, I appreciated the experience of working behind the scenes and witness the inter-workings of a large city. Together, these accomplishments were made possible because of PILP and its generous donors.