In an effort to promote careers in public interest law, the Massachusetts Bar Foundation launched a program in 1996 that provides stipends to law students who choose to intern at legal aid organizations during the summer months. Over the past decade, the Legal Intern Fellowship Program (LIFP) has awarded more than $267,000 to 73 law students.
Funded through Fellows pledges and the Smith Family Fund, the LIFP now serves as a springboard to public interest law careers for the area’s most promising law students. The Foundation recently selected the following five students to receive stipends of $6,000 each for their work planned for the upcoming summer:
MBF FELLOWS FUND FELLOWS Funded through pledge payments of MBF Fellows: Wendy Andre, of Roger Williams University School of Law, will intern at Catholic Social Services of Fall River, working in its Immigration Law Education and Advocacy Project.
Karen Alm, of City University of New York, will intern at Greater Boston Legal Services, working in its Welfare Law Unit.
Katie Martin, of Boston University School of Law, will intern at Boston Medical Center, where she will work with the Medical Legal Partnership for Children.
Michael Motta, of Boston College School of Law, will intern at Greater Boston Legal Services in its Health Law Unit.
SMITH FAMILY FELLOW
Funded through the Smith Family Fund, and awarded for work with children:
Tinia Snow, of Northeastern University School of Law, will intern at the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts. While the students will certainly benefit by gaining firsthand experience working in these critical programs, the MBF’s Legal Intern Fellowship Program also serves the additional purpose of providing much needed staff support to legal aid organizations serving the unrepresented in the commonwealth.
The mutually beneficial nature of the relationship between student and host organization presents a natural “win-win” situation – not to mention the obvious benefit to the clients served.
MBF Trustee Jenny Chou, this year’s LIFP chair, recognizes the benefits might be even further reaching than originally presumed.
“While we are encouraged that many of our LIFP alum have gone on to launch lifelong careers in public service,” Chou explained, “even those who don’t will certainly enter their practices or law firms more enlightened about the legal needs of the poor, and perhaps more inclined to engage in pro bono work or volunteerism. And they may even encourage their colleagues to do the same. The ripple effect of this program is sure to be exponential.”