Clayton Huber ’21 — Many undergraduates do not have the privilege to intern with a law firm that has an effect like the Legal Aid Society (LAS) in Louisville, Kentucky. LAS in Louisville serves 15 different counties and represents clients in 4,000+ cases a year. Their clients are low-income, poverty-stricken, and homeless discouraged members of society who are deprived of equal justice in the legal world. LAS attorneys vigorously work to attain their clients’ needs, whether it be a divorce, simple will, life planning documents, bankruptcy or veteran affairs (my new specialty).
During this internship, I worked closely with Equal Justice Fellow, Dr. Roy W. Berwick, my new Mentor and a VA Accredited Attorney for the Legal Aid Society. I was able to work with Dr. Berwick and gain much experience under CFR§ 14.629 (c) (3). This article states that a Legal Intern may work under a VA Accredited Attorney if they are present at all times; this allowed me to see how a VA Attorney practices law.
I gained a vast amount of knowledge while working under him and seeing how Discharge Upgrades and VA Notice of Disagreements are filed with the VA and the Review Boards of Military Corrections.
While working with Dr. Berwick, I was a part of twelve different cases. The tasks I was assigned to do were varied:
- Drafting Legal Aid Letters
- Filling out DD Forms (Military Forms)
- Writing and Proofreading Affidavit Statements
- Drafting Memorandums of Law
- Interviewing Veterans and Understanding Their Backgrounds
I was hoping to find a field of law that I might enjoy when I graduate from Wabash College and attend law school later, and Dr. Berwick helped me find that passion at LAS this summer. Dr. Berwick has also guided me to become a VA Accredited Claims Representative. This accreditation will allow me to represent veterans before the VA and file cases by myself, even though I am not associated with a bar yet.
In addition to working in the Veterans Unit, I was also a part of the Development Unit, where I assisted with marketing and grant writing. Specifically, I worked with fundraising programs, designed and drafted new articles and newsletters about LAS. This experience has allowed me to further my knowledge in the fundraising realm, and hopefully, I can apply my knowledge to the next Day of Giving for Wabash.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that the CIBE Innovation Internship and LAS offered me this summer. Without this experience, I would not have been able to practice and learn under an EJW Fellow nor understand how fundraising programs and grant writing operate. I have found a passion through LAS and the CIBE Program that I will be practicing in the near future.