University of New Hampshire

School of Law

School of Law

Social Justice Institute’s 16 Summer Public Interest Fellows Provide Legal Assistance to Region

UNH Law's 2011 Summer Public Interest Fellows are gaining invaluable experience assisting underserved and vulnerable populations in New Hampshire and beyond. The 16 students were chosen from a competitive pool of applicants to receive funding for public interest summer work.

"Many of the organizations students work at do not have the financial means to pay a summer legal intern a salary, yet are in grave need of legal assistance," said Professor Erin Corcoran, the director of UNH Law's Social Justice Institute. "Not only does these summer fellowships provide hands on learning and expose students, often for the first time, to the needs of underserved and vulnerable populations in New Hampshire and beyond, these experiences inspire many students to pursue lifelong careers in the public interest."

Jennifer Makahusz JD '12 is working with the New Hampshire Public Defender in Manchester. "Every day, I walk into the office, and I am handed a different project that further enhances my desire to become a public defender," Makahusz said. "To me, this is not just about helping my clients shape their future, it is about shaping my future as well."

Matthew Cessna JD '13 is working with the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. "I am so thankful for this opportunity, and the PIC Fellowship made it all possible," Cessna said. "I hope to learn more about how the Constitution protects each of our liberties and how I can personally contribute to protect them."

"This internship provided me with the opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on experiences that will stay with me throughout my career."
   --Jesse Maihos JD '12

Jessica Zurlo JD '13 is in Ballston, New York, at the Saratoga County District Attorney's Office. "It has been a great learning experience; I've had the opportunity to accompany assistant district attorneys in the courtroom, prepare motions for trial and participate in attorney conferences in the judge's chambers," Zurlo said. "This experience has shown me how the criminal law system works in the real world, and I look forward to learning even more this summer."

Jon Killeen JD '13 is the Robert H. Temple Fellow at New Hampshire's Strafford Superior Court. "This has been an invaluable experience," Killeen said. "I have been working hands-on with law clerks and judges in the process of researching and writing. I hope to continue learning about the everyday workings of the judicial system."

Jamie Rogers JD '13 is working with the Concord City Prosecutor's Office. "My internship has solidified my interest in criminal law and expanded my legal practice skills greatly," Rogers said. "I have been able to volunteer myself full-time this summer to research, write motions and assist the prosecutors in and out of court, thanks to the Public Interest Coalition Fellowship."

Among the summer fellows is Brian Bouchard JD '13, who is working this summer at New Hampshire's Rockingham County Superior Court. "Working as a summer judicial intern has been awe-inspiring," Bouchard said. "The depth of experience, from researching and writing orders to conferences with the judges, is unparalleled. Kudos to the Social Justice Institute for promoting careers in the court system."

Jessie Maihos JD '12 is spending her summer with the New Hampshire Attorney General's Consumer Protection Bureau. "I was extremely thankful to be chosen as a PIC Fellow because this program allowed me to work full time at the NH Attorney General's Office and still fulfill my financial obligations," Maihos said. "All of my work has been beneficial, but most importantly, I was given daily opportunities to improve my lawyering skills. I gained experience in a new area of law by researching and drafting appellate briefs, performing an extensive legislative history, observing court proceedings, responding to consumer complaints, and prepping witnesses for hearings. By working in the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau, I was also able to prepare my own witness and perform a direct examination in front of the NH Medical Board. This internship provided me with the opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on experiences that will stay with me throughout my career."

Other 2011 Summer Public Interest Fellows are:

  •     Jeffrey Bourassa JD '12, who is working at the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, in Washington, D.C.
  •     Christa Ellis JD '12 and Stephanie Stracqualursi JD '13, who are working with New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services
  •     Elizabeth Gray '13, who is working with the Hillsborough County Attorney's Office in Nashua.
  •     Paul Groce JD '12, who is working with the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Quincy, Massachusetts.
  •     Obiajulu Ikeme JD '12, who is working with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.
  •     Shanna O'Rorke JD '12, who is a Simoneau Family Fellow at New Hampshire Legal Assistance in Claremont.
  •     Eman Pahlevani JD '12, who is working with the U.S. General Services Administration in Washington, D.C.
  •     Joshua Puryear JD '12, who is working with the Office of the Public Defender for the State of Maryland.