by Brittany Hardy
Four Baylor Law Students have been accepted into the Texas Access to Justice Internship Program. Through this program, Lee Roy Calderson, Brittany Cravens, Taylor Romero and Brittany Wray have been awarded the opportunity to participate in internships with non-profit providers of civil legal services.
For the summer of 2011, the Commission has partnered with six legal services programs, offering a total 26 eligible legal services offices. Fifteen internships were be available. The internships are open to law school students attending law school throughout the country; however, at least one student was selected from each of the nine Texas law schools. A stipend of $400/week (a lump sum of $4,000) will be provided to every student to help defray living expenses. Students must commit to a 10-week placement.
The goals of TATJC program are to encourage students to address civil legal problems of underserved individuals and communities and to educate future attorneys about those matters. Each law student will receive hands-on training by working with accomplished lawyers and providing direct legal services to low-income clients, while learning about access to justice matters, legal decision-making, advocacy skills, attorney-client relationships, and legal institutions.
Cravens will work at Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas in Waxahachie. Interns were selected through a process established by TATJC, found online.
"I haven't spoken with the legal supervisor at my location, but have expressed interest in working with family law issues," Cravens said.
Calderon will be employed by Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid.
"Getting a job with TRLA was fairly simple and done through a few phone calls, emails and a resume submission," Calderon said. "After that, I had to apply for the ATJ Fellowship to receive a stipend and other benefits while employed with TRLA."
TRLA's application process strongly considers the applicant's interests in working with underprivileged communities.
"My volunteer work as an undergrad at University of Texas for various organizations played a big part in the application process," Calderon said.
Additionally, the application involves specific skills and interests that help law students in employment with a legal aid program.
"Working for TRLA's Edinburg office was always something I wanted to do," said Calderon, who grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and recognizes the need for legal services for those unable to afford it. "I was happy when TRLA offered me the job and would have done it for free because it gives me an opportunity to gain valuable legal experience in a region that is very important to me. Receiving a Texas ATJ Internship was icing on the cake, and I was honored and humbled upon receiving the award."