July 06, 2022

Matthew Gulick, ’24, Awarded Prestigious Equal Justice Works Student Fellowship

Focus on environmental justice in underserved communities propelled selection among 300+ applicants.
  • Matthew Gulick ’24, showing a healthy bee colony.
    Image courtesy of M. Gulick.
  • Matthew Gulick ’24, traveling. 
    Photo courtesy of Matthew Gulick.

 

Matthew Gulick, ’24, has been selected for the prestigious Equal Justice Works’ 2022 Rural Summer Legal Corps Fellowship. Selected from among 300+ applicants, Matthew is one of 40 law students serving in the program as an Equal Justice Works Student Fellow.

“Matthew is an exceptional law student, and we look forward to supporting his efforts to address environmental injustices such as polluted air and water in rural communities,” said Brooke Meckler, director of law school engagement and advocacy at Equal Justice Works.

“When I learned about the Fellowship I realized that the program would be a great opportunity to provide substantive help to people who could use it.” Said Matthew. “I came to Lewis & Clark to pursue public interest law, so I was excited for any chance to meaningfully put my first year of law school experience to use.”

Discussing his summer placement, he said, “Currently, my main project involves a potential case against crude oil ship fueling in the Gulf of Mexico. I am also assisting on a case regarding language accessibility for low english proficiency individuals seeking financial assistance following floods in 2019. More broadly, I am getting the chance to help with legal clinics, such as providing outreach to veterans.”

Equal Justice Works not only trains and empowers students to improve the legal system but concurrently connects them with the people and issues most directly benefited. Each summer Equal Justice Works partners with Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to support law students who want to give back to rural communities and help address pressing legal matters across the United and its territories.

As a result of that partnership, the Student Fellows spend eight to ten weeks during summers exploring a career in civil legal aid while providing direct legal services and building capacity at the organizations where they serve. Placements are hosted by LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations; following the completion of 300 hours of service in the program, participants earn a $5,000 stipend.

“It’s well known that rural communities lag behind urban and other areas when it comes to access to civil legal aid in our country,” said Meckler. “As a leader in the public interest law community, we are committed to providing unique opportunities for passionate public-minded law students like Matthew to help fill in the resource gap for rural communities, while being exposed to the ins and outs of practicing law beyond a big city law setting.”

Matthew’s summer placement is hosted at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc., where he works with the organization’s Community Development and Environmental Justice team. “I am gaining experience in community-oriented environmental justice efforts, and learning how coalition building works in practice. I hope that this experience will make me a better advocate and resource for groups going forward.”

For more information on Equal Justice Works, the Rural Summer Legal Corps, and the application cycle, please click here.