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My name is Hailey Harp, and this summer, I am serving as a Legal Fellow with Shared Hope International in Washington, DC. Shared Hope is a non-profit NGO dedicated to preventing human trafficking in the United States. Each year, Shared Hope publishes a comprehensive Score Card for every state and DC, analyzing state statutes related to child and youth sex trafficking.

One exciting opportunity for Legal Fellows during the summer at Shared Hope is the Pre-grading Meetings. These weeklong meetings are held annually, during which the Policy Team discusses the state report cards, including changes from previous years, new laws in each state, and conversations with stakeholders. It was fascinating to learn about statutory construction and witness the level of precision required in developing state statutes. We also discussed how minor language adjustments can impact the eligibility of individuals for victim services. Additionally, Legal Fellows contributed to strategizing for a more comprehensive review of report cards in the future.

At the office, the other interns and fellows gather in a large conference room that we have collectively taken over when the full-time staff is not using it for conferences. We spend most days in this room, which has large glass walls offering a view of the rest of the office. Legal Fellows are law students, and Interns are undergraduate students, some of whom will be applying to law schools in the fall. We discuss our individual projects, provide encouragement to interns applying to law schools, and offer advice on research tactics when someone gets stuck. Occasionally, one of our supervisors will check up on us, or someone will use a smaller office for an individual project review and update with their supervisor.

My supervisor is one of the attorneys on the Policy Team, overseeing projects for all Legal Fellows. We each have individual short-term projects and long-term projects that we work on as a group. I have recently completed two individual projects: one involved statutory research and analysis on juvenile expungement laws applicable to human trafficking victims in each state, and the other focused on civil causes of action under racketeering statutes.

This summer has been a valuable learning experience for legal research and writing skills, as well as collaboration and teamwork. I feel blessed and grateful for this opportunity, which is largely thanks to the relationship between Regent University Law’s Center for Global Justice and Shared Hope International.

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.