MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Continuing a long-running tradition, law students at West Virginia University are spending this summer helping those in need.
More than a dozen WVU College of Law students are working as Public Interest Advocates Summer Fellows. They are helping at regional organizations that provide legal services to low-income clients, the elderly, children, victims of domestic violence, veterans and others. The program began in 1988.
Being a PIA Summer Fellow gives these students valuable legal work experience in areas such as children’s advocacy, civil rights, consumer matters, disability rights, and land use and conservation. At the same time, they are increasing access to justice for many people who cannot afford a lawyer.
“PIA Fellowships allow students to gain practical, real-world legal experience while they provide important support and staffing in busy public interest law offices,” said Jennifer Powell, director of the Center for Law and Public Service. “The fellowships have also inspired many students to provide pro bono legal services once they become lawyers and have launched hundreds of students’ careers in public interest law.”
PIA Summer Fellowships are full-time, paid 10-week appointments. The fellows are sponsored by the non-profit West Virginia Fund for Law in the Public Interest. Fundraising support for WVFLIPI is conducted by the PIA, one of the most active student organizations at WVU Law.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some of the PIA Summer Fellows are working remotely.
The 2021 PIA Summer Fellows are:
- Brooke Antol — Legal Aid of West Virginia, Charleston
- Madison Carroll — Legal Aid of West Virginia, Wheeling.
- Carlie DiSerio — Legal Aid of West Virginia, Clarksburg.
- Olivia Lee — Disability Rights of West Virginia, Charleston.
- Kaelyn Le-Hue — Mountain State Justice in Morgantown, West Virginia (remotely).
- Abigail Martin — Legal Aid of West Virginia, Clarksburg.
- Jonathan Rickett — Disability Rights of West Virginia. Clarksburg.
- Sophia Runion — Legal Aid of West Virginia, Martinsburg.
- Samantha Schaal — Legal Aid of West Virginia, Morgantown.
- Ian Shoulders — Mountain State Justice in Morgantown, West Virginia (remotely).
- Alexis Schneider — West Virginia Senior Legal Aid, Morgantown.
- Zoey Vilasuso — ChildLaw Services, Princeton, West Virginia.
- Shae West — ACLU of West Virginia in Charleston (remotely).
- Ginny Blake — Federal Public Defender of the Southern District of Ohio, Capital Habeas Unit, Columbus.
- Elijah Stevens — Appalachian Citizens Law Center, Whitesburg, Kentucky.