This month we are celebrating summer interns Emily Obermiller and Jack McClelland as our August Volunteers of the Month! Both Jack and Emily are up-coming 2Ls from the University of Washington School of Law. After attending an information session about ALSC’s Pro Bono Training Academy, both decided to venture up to Anchorage to volunteer their services.
As interns, Jack and Emily have worked on wills for clients out of the BBNA region; conducted research projects and intake for Anchorage attorneys; worked on projects for bush attorneys; worked on the Pro Bono Training Academy Resource Library; and, helped coordinate Pro Bono Training Academy CLEs. Check out our interview with Emily and Jack below:
Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?
Emily: I chose to intern with ALSC this summer because I have a strong interest in access to justice, and I wanted to learn more about the unique access to justice issues facing rural Alaskans. I love working in legal aid, with the variety of legal problems that our clients face and the opportunity to solve these problems creatively and collaboratively. Additionally, I couldn’t think of a better place to spend the summer than Alaska, with the long days and great fishing and hiking. I’ve really enjoyed this summer at ALSC.
Jack: Personally, I was attracted to the idea of spending my summer in Alaska. The opportunity for endless days and plenty of hiking was too much to pass up for me. Professionally, I was drawn by the fact that ALSC provides such a wide variety of services. My goal was to see as much of what happens in the legal profession as possible this summer, which has certainly been the case while I’ve been here.
What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others?
Emily: One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at ALSC is being able to help Alaska Native clients in rural Alaska with drafting their wills. I also enjoyed being able to bring my Spanish skills to ALSC and conduct intake interviews with our Spanish speaking clients. It’s extremely gratifying to be able to help our clients overcome some of the barriers they face in accessing the justice system.
Jack: I have enjoyed being able to talk to clients while writing their wills. It is a very personal legal service to provide and it is nice to help someone plan for their future in that way. Additionally, it has been a very positive experience being around so many dedicated and helpful lawyers. Despite their busy schedules, everyone was always willing to help me with a problem or project. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to set an example for me as I enter this career.
How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?
Emily: I am excited to take all the skills I’ve learned at ALSC into my future career. ALSC has helped me develop skills for stronger advocacy: research and writing skills, drafting documents like wills and pleading templates, and interviewing clients.
Jack: ALSC has allowed me to play an active role in the organization. I think the hands-on experiences I have received here are preparing me for my career as a lawyer. Beyond just my own work, I have enjoyed seeing what the day to day practices of lawyers are whether it is writing motions, discussing cases with clients, or fighting for them in court. This internship has provided me with insights into the profession as well as many practical skills.