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ICLS hosts first Spring Internship Program

Earlier this month, Inland Counties Legal Services hosted its first spring internship program, where students from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles gained real world experience in public interest litigation.

The students – including Alicia Govea, Brenda Martinez Jaurrieta, Eva Mooradian, Jamie Hunt, and Kassandra Cuellar¬†– met with clients, got an in-depth view of ICLS’s services, and completed research topics that ICLS practice groups will utilize moving forward.

In just one week, each student researched and presented on a topic related to ICLS’s pro bono programs. Topics included: exploring the requirements of the Corporate Transparency Act and trademark basics involved in intellectual property law for our Small Business Clinic; the redemptive qualities of assisting a client in filing and submitting a Gender Marker and Name Change petition as part of our LGBTQ+ program; the poignancy of engaging with an Expungement Clinic client seeking a fresh start; and offering substantial relief to Guardianship Clinic clients trying to do right by their family and loved ones.

Moreover, we deepened our understanding of disaster support mechanisms, learning about the criteria for qualifying as a disaster, including the process of securing federal aid through a presidential declaration.

“Working with Kassandra was a pleasure,” said Mahum Shere-Asef, lead attorney of ICLS’s Disaster Relief (DR) program. “During her week with us, Kassandra learned about Disaster Relief work [via trainings] and put together a guide on how to replace vital records, which will be utilized as part of our first Disaster Relief Clinic… she asked great questions and offered useful suggestions about growing the [DR program.]”

Kassandra’s hard work and dedication proved to be fruitful as she is now volunteering with our DR program and is working on establishing the first Disaster Relief Clinic which will be offered later this year in May.

The Spring internship closed out with a Pro Bono Diversity mixer in Ontario, CA, where students reflected on their week at ICLS alongside ICLS attorneys, members of the Hispanic Bar Association, and former student interns. Some explained that they have come to envision a life beyond law school and emphasized the personal and professional growth fostered by legal aid organizations like ICLS.

For that recognition and more, we are grateful to our 2024 Spring intern cohort and commend them for their exceptional work.

Special thanks to Southwestern Law School and Michelle Takagishi-Almeida, Director, Public Service Program, for making this happen and thanks to the Hispanic Bar Association of the Inland Empire for co-hosting a diversity and pro bono mixer with our team to close out the program.