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8th Annual Howard Public Interest Law Society Benefit Auction & Alumni Reception

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8th Annual
Howard Public Interest Law Society Benefit Auction

HPILS Fellowship Stories
Shannon Jones
Class of 2013 -
D.C. Superior Court,
The Honorable Robert R. Rigsby
Lindsey Ruhl
Class of 2012 -
Public Defender Service of D.C.,
Re-Entry Program
Shane Poole
Class of 2013 -
National Coalition
for the Homeless
Because the judge I worked for had a community courtroom, I learned the value of taking a holistic approach to the criminal justice system and the impact of providing assistance to under-privileged communities. In addition, I was able to strengthen my research/writing skills and see some of the best attorneys in D.C.

There were so many cases that were very moving. For me, the best part about my job was seeing people who were able to overcome a drug addiction or young people who were able to get their lives on the right track because they were given a second chance instead of being incarcerated and having a conviction on their record. Sometimes the defendants would cry and thank the judge for helping them get out of bad situations. That was always a moving thing to see.

At PDS I conducted interviews with walk-in clients seeking reentry services after incarceration; assisted newly released persons in making a successful transition back into the community; determined eligibility for record expungement under D.C. code; and drafted motions in support of attorneys.

My favorite client is a lifelong drug user with an extensive criminal record and an on-going mental illness. When we met, he was homeless and not getting his medication. Through my work, and the work of other law clerks, he is now living stably in an apartment and attending a job-training program. I am humbled to work for clients who are seeking to break the cycle of homelessness and live with dignity.

I received the fellowship 1L and 2L year. The funding allowed me to pursue my passion for public service. Without it, my resume would look very different.
Working as a legal intern for the National Coalition for the Homeless provided me with the opportunity to refine my research and writing skills. Specifically, I was able to master my legislative research techniques and editing capabilities through my contributions to the Coalition’s Annual Homeless Hate Crimes Report.

My time with the National Coalition for the Homeless also opened my eyes to the inner workings of a non-profit organization, which is extremely beneficial to someone who would like to start a non-profit legal agency. The entire experience was moving because it gave me an opportunity to serve those who are often seen as the very bottom of our society.

The HPILs Fellowship was essential for my work with the National Coalition for the Homeless. Without it, I would not have had the financial resources to pay for food and rent.

updated: February 7, 2012