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Special Highlight

Legal Aid’s Summer Interns 2021

Written by Legal Aid WV

06/28/2021

Each year, we are fortunate to get to work with college students in law school or who aspire to go to law school for summer internships where they gain real-life experience in public interest law (legal aid work helping West Virginia’s underserved).

In 2021, we have 10 interns working across the state, and they come to us from Shepherd University, West Virginia University, and the Equal Justice Works/Legal Services Corporation’s Rural Summer Legal Corps. They are:

Kaitlyn Smith, Beckley; Brooke Antol, Charleston; Carlie DiSerio, Clarksburg; Abigail Martin, Clarksburg; Sophia Runion, Martinsburg; Samantha Schaal, Morgantown; Natalia Watkins, Morgantown; Madison Carroll, Wheeling; Ayla Dodson, REMOTE Beckley; and Holly Thompson, REMOTE Clarksburg.

We have highlighted some of interns projects, along with some quotes from them on their interest in Legal Aid work. We are grateful for these fantastic students and hope to work with them again someday (in fact, many of our staff started as interns)!

Samantha Schaal 

Morgantown Office, WV PIA Fellow 

Project Description: creating a document that explains the process for Drivers license reinstatement. 

“I am interested in interning at Legal Aid because the work makes a positive impact on the lives of its clients who might otherwise not receive help or justice.”

Sophia Runion

Brief project description: I’m working with Matt Jividen to develop one-pagers that can be made available to the public on topics like adult guardianship and driver’s license reinstatement. 

Sophia Runion, Intern, with quote reading: I'm enjoying the variety of issues I'm able to get hands-on experience with. I was even able to present Legal Aid's portion of the Eastern Panhandle Successful Renters Program1

Holly Thompson

Brief project description: This summer, I’m turning legal FAQs into accessible advice letters for clients.

Holly Thompson, Shepherd Intern with quote reading It's inspiring being able to see the tangible, positive impact that legal work has on people's lives.

Carlie Diserio

Brief Project Description: I am researching the legalization of medical cannabis and its effects on subsidized housing, public benefits, etc. For example, how will a positive drug test from medically prescribed cannabis affect someone’s ability to receive or continue receiving these benefits? 

Madison Carroll

Brief project description: For my intern project, I am compiling a list of community partners from across the state in numerous service areas. The purpose of this list is to provide a streamlined process for getting LAWV information out to community partners, as well as to have an efficient list for LAWV offices to refer clients to within their area.

Madison Carroll, PIA Fellow, with quote reading I wanted to help those in need from the area I grew up in. I have learned so much already, both substantively and procedurally, and I am excited to continue to learn.

Abigail Martin

Project Description: Working to review and update Legal Aid WV website articles, specifically those dealing with housing, money and debt, health and benefits, and work and unemployment.

Abigail Martin, PIA Fellow, with quote reading I was interested in working with Legal Aid when I heard legal director Clint Adams describe one of the most important values of this organization as kindness at an info session.

Kaitlyn Smith

Project Description: This summer, I am calling every circuit court clerk’s offices in West Virginia to find out how much they charge for copies, paper and/or electronic, and whether they accept a fee waiver form for Legal Aid clients and attorneys. What I have found so far is that the prices and options of paper copies or electronic copies varies widely across the state. Many clerks I have called have been stumped on the question of whether our clients get a fee waiver for these documents. The hope is that we can work towards adopting a more uniform standard statewide to help our clients know what to expect when getting their necessary documents. Legal Aid clients are already economically disadvantaged, so having to pay potentially $50 or more to get their documents could determine whether they can afford to pursue their case and seek the justice they deserve.

Kaitlyn Smith, Rural Summer Legal Corps fellow, with quote reading The entire purpose of Legal Aid is to level the playing field for our clients that generally have the deck stacked against them.

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