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Image - 2020 PILC Feature Friday Non-Profit Law

September 11, 2020

Meet our 2020 PILC Grant Recipients Working in Non-Profit Law

Southwestern's Public Interest Law Committee (PILC) is a student-run organization that sponsors a number of events each year to raise student awareness and involvement in providing legal services for underrepresented communities and is dedicated to facilitating public interest law careers by supporting students in public interest work through fundraising efforts for the school’s Public Interest Law Summer Grant Program.

We want to recognize these students and the incredible work they are doing with their Public Interest Law Committee Summer Grant. Meet our 2020 PILC Grant recipients working in Non-Profit Law: 

Dorna Khazeni, 2L

Summer Placement: Clean Slate Reentry Summer Clerk at Neighborhood Legal Services Los Angeles

Image - Donna KhazeniMy role working for NLSLA in the Clean Slate division was to help remove a barrier that stood in the way of the litigants that were looking to move past their history and achieve some or other goal, be it a professional license, a job, adopting a child, etc.

The law is a powerful instrument, and I am committed to using it to achieve greater social justice. Where there are rights that are not being respected, I hope to fight for redress, and where there is a gap, and there appear to be no just remedies, I wish to fight to highlight that gap, and to create positive change.

Jeff Martin, 2L

Summer Placement: LA LGBT Center, Homeless Youth Project

Image - Jeffrey MartinI am passionate about homelessness prevention and outreach, so working at the LGBT Center’s Homeless Youth Project gave me an opportunity to provide meaningful, personalized help to the unhoused in need.

More than once, the response from a client we helped was, "You saved my life." Even seemingly "minor" legal issues can have a substantial impact on the life of someone dealing with homelessness or the threat thereof, and every single person we helped – no matter how small the legal issue – made me feel like the work we were doing actually made a difference.

The housing crisis has created a great need for litigators in the realm of tenants’ rights and rights for the unhoused, and I want to contribute as much as possible to the fight for our unhoused neighbors.

Martha Vasquez Hernandez, 2L

Summer Placement: Summer for Justice Law Clerk in Bet Tzedek’s Kinship Care Project

Image - Martha Vazquez HernandezI believe every human being deserves justice, as well as equal opportunities and access to legal representation. I am passionate about public interest work because I believe the law is a powerful tool that can be used to provide relief to our most vulnerable communities, and I would like to use the opportunities I have been given to help those communities.

Undoubtedly, my biggest public interest accomplishment thus far has been my summer clerkship with Bet Tzedek, not only because of the experience and knowledge I acquired during my time there, but also because the work was so meaningful and combined my two passions, children’s rights and immigration.

Support PILC

In lieu of in-person events this year, you can help support PILC by donating at SWLaw.edu/SupportPILC.

Donate Here

Southwestern’s Public Interest Law Committee (PILC) sincerely thanks you for your support.  PILC’s mission is to help create a community where Southwestern students are educated and incentivized to participate in issues concerning and advancing the public interest. Each fundraising cycle, PILC focuses efforts on raising as much funds as possible to provide financial support for students who wish to spend their summer contributing to the work of public interest and government agencies advocating for meaningful impact for the diverse, low-income communities across California who need legal advocacy the most. These funds will go towards our Public Interest Law Fund, which provides funding to selected student recipients to serve in unpaid, full-time clerkships with public interest / civil legal aid and government agencies up to a 10-week summer term.

The Public Interest Law Summer Grant aims to alleviate the financial burden of student loans while providing Southwestern students the opportunity to gain practical legal training and education in public service. PILC looks forward to continuing to serve our Southwestern and California communities through our fundraising efforts. 

PILC Grants are available for continuing students who work in public interest during the summer. Applications are due in March. Awards up to $5,000. Email publicservice@swlaw.edu for more information.