Forty-eight Pepperdine Law students will embark on national and international public interest placements this summer. Thirty-one students will work stateside in locations ranging from downtown Los Angeles to New York, and 17 students will travel abroad to work on global justice initiatives.
The School of Law has provided more than $118,000 in stipends to support the students’ work. Sources of funding include the student organization Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL), which raised funds through a silent auction at the Law School Dinner and a live auction held at the law school. Other sources of funds include the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on law, Religion, and Ethics, and the Dean Ken Starr Excellence Fund.
Students serving in the United States this summer will work at placements such as UNICEF, the Los Angeles and Ventura County Public Defender’s Office, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Bet Tzedek, and the Pepperdine Legal Aid Clinic at the Union Rescue Mission, among other organizations.
Pepperdine’s Global Justice Program will send 17 students to assist judges, government lawyers, and human rights organizations in Ghana, India, Peru, Rwanda, and Uganda. Eight students will be working for the Ugandan Judiciary, two with the Rwanda Ministry of Justice, two for Paz y Esperanza in Peru, two for the Supreme Court of Ghana, two for Dalit Freedom Network, and one with International Justice Mission. Students will live and serve within the communities for the duration of their experience.
“I’m most looking forward to working in the highest court of an African country whose constitution is less than 20 years old,” said third-year student Brian Freano who will be working with the Supreme Court of Ghana. “I think the job I’ll be doing is important to help promulgate democracy in Ghana through the judicial system, and I think our presence as American students will subtly strengthen relationships between Ghana and the United States. I want to be a blessing to the people with whom I come into contact and serving the Ghanian people through their judicial system provides the opportunity to pursue justice in a way that is unavailable to me in the United States.”
Second-year student Rebecca Getman looks forward to spending the summer working with the Dalit Freedom Network in India. “In my future legal career, I intend to pursue some sort of public interest work, whether that will be with children, the homeless, immigrants, or human rights,” she explains. “I feel this summer will help open my eyes to the terrible life situations people face and how much they are in need of a voice and someone to represent them.”
The public interest work these students will undertake ranges from local legal aid work to international human rights. “We are very proud of our students who are engaging in public interest work across the world this summer,” says Vice Dean Tim Perrin. “At Pepperdine we take very seriously our obligation to serve those in need whether locally, nationally, or internationally.”