College of Law Launches New Summer Public Interest Grant Program

Tuesday, August 12 2014

MOSCOW, Idaho – Aug. 12, 2014— The University of Idaho College of Law awarded approximately $20,000 this summer to students who completed public interest work in Idaho and beyond. The new program started with seed money from the Idaho State Bar IOLTA Foundation, alumni and external donations, and fundraising efforts of the College of Law’s student organizations.  

Inaugural grant recipients received between $2,000 and $5,000 for doing public interest legal work in unpaid positions. Students applied by submitting a résumé and statement of interest that covered pertinent questions, including long-term career goals and how the internship fit into their future plans. A selection committee of faculty and staff evaluated the position, location and financial need of each applicant in relation to the total requests received. The new program received applications from three times the number of grants awarded.

Six grateful and driven law students participated this summer:  

John Brassell ’15 was a law clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver, Colorado, working in their criminal division on a variety of cases ranging from drug and human trafficking to white collar and organized crime; 

Hannah Chessin ’15 worked as a legal intern for the Idaho Conservation League in Sandpoint, focusing her efforts on Idaho’s water laws and regulations; 

Y. Natali Magana ’16 worked in Kent, Washington, with the Barrera Legal Group as the legal intern on pro bono cases, helping students with issues related to their immigration status; 

Vanessa Montoya ’16 was the legal intern for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Granger, Washington, promoting justice for low-income immigrants through direct legal services, policy and educational work; 

Beck Roan ’15 interned for the Idaho State Appellate Public Defender, Sara B. Thomas, and helped statewide criminal litigants through the appellate process; and

Cory Stegelmeyer ’15 worked as a research assistant at the Mallard Law Office and supported attorneys doing public criminal defense work in Idaho Falls.

“The College of Law set up this program to help our students gain valuable legal experience that have high impacts for individuals and communities,” said Jeffrey A. Dodge, the associate dean for students and administration and the creator of the program.  “Work on behalf of the public is important, yet sometimes not financially accessible to students.  We are very proud of our new grant program and the impact it will have on our students and those who benefit from their work.”

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Media Contact: 
Cindy Hollenbeck
College of Law

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