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Post by: Rebecca Emmanuel
My internship at Legal Aid of Western Michigan (LAWM) has provided practical ways to help people in general, various lawyering skills, and client interaction that I believe will translate well in my law school and legal career. During the first week of the internship, LAWM interns were sent for a training seminar at the University of Michigan Law School. The training was a comprehensive introduction to family, consumer, housing, and immigration law for law interns. After the training, I was given an opportunity to research projects in different aspects of the law. Majority of my research was on landlord-tenant law, some family law, auto repossession, debt collection, and low-income benefits and voucher issues. While an auto repossession case might not sound very appealing or interesting, working at LAWM reminded me that issues of human rights, justice, rule of law, oppression and so on could happen right next door. Having the opportunity to interview clients during daily client intake appointments made me aware of just how easily people can be oppressed and have their rights violated within the community. From dealing with clients who have an eviction notice from an oppressive landlord, to single mothers who are suing for child support, legal counsel and representation gives the oppressed a voice.
The work that legal aid attorneys and staff workers do to make sure qualified low-income individuals in the community are protected is priceless. Not only are the individuals represented in court but legal aid also provides low-income individuals in the community with resources, and legal advice that guides their conduct to prevent future legal issues. While I am still interested in international law and human rights work, working at LAWM has been a reminder that change begins within the community before it can be experienced on an international scale.
This post was written by a Center for Global Justice Intern. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.