October 25, 2023

summer stipendsEach summer, Catholic Law students engage in a variety of hands-on professional experiences to further their understanding of the law by developing practical skills through externships. To assist students with their public service or pro bono placements, Catholic Law has summer stipends available to help support students in what are typically unpaid, yet incredibly valuable positions.

The summer of 2023 was no different for Catholic Law students, some of whom detail their experiences below.

O'Brien Summer Fellowship

Abby DiOrioAbby DiOrio '25

I am incredibly grateful to be the recipient of the Father O'Brien Fellowship, which granted me the ability to pursue an internship that I was passionate about. This summer, I served as a legal extern at the General Services Administration (GSA) Office of General Counsel. I strengthened my legal research and writing skills while shadowing a number of capable attorneys. This role has encouraged and prepared me for the next steps of my legal career.

Emily Johnson

Emily Johnson '24

I spent this summer at the Maricopa County Attorney's Office (MCAO) working in the Sex Crimes Bureau. My time spent in criminal prosecution was the most formative and impactful experience I've had in the legal field. I argued motions, conducted settlement conferences, prepared witnesses and victims for trial, watched multiple felony trials, and I came away from the experience with a strong resolve to return to criminal prosecution upon graduation. I'll always be grateful for the O'Brien Fellowship allowing me to pursue my placement at MCAO.

Lisa Salas

Lisa Salas '25

I spent this summer interning at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). My work contributed to the direct representation of unaccompanied children. The challenges our clients faced were unimaginable, but the resiliency they showed at such a young age was inspiring. It was extremely rewarding to contribute to such an important initiative and this experience would not have been possible without the O’Brien Fellowship.

Nikitha Zacharia

Nikitha Zacharia '25

I got to work at the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas this past summer. It was amazing to see the behind-the-scenes of the trial and witness the preparation process for various human rights and organized crimes in the locality. I'm really grateful to the O'Brien Fellowship for providing me a way to travel and live in Houston for the summer.

Students for Public Interest Law Stipend

Zoe Evans

Zoe Evans '24

This past summer, I had an amazing experience as a student attorney at the Middlesex District Attorney’s (DA’s) Office in Massachusetts. Since I was certified by the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) under Rule 3:03, I was able to appear in criminal proceedings on behalf of the Commonwealth. Therefore, I had my own caseload and got to represent the Commonwealth on arraignments, pleas, motions, and trials for victimless cases. One of my most exciting projects was leading my own jury trial for an Operating Under the Influence (OUI) charge. This included selecting a jury, presenting an opening statement and closing argument, examining witnesses, and arguing over the admissibility of evidence in front of the Judge. The internship was a huge learning experience for me and I will be a better attorney as a result of my time with the Middlesex DA’s Office. Without the assistance of the Students for Public Interest Law (SPIL) Stipend, I would not have been able to accept this internship due to financial constraints. I am so grateful to SPIL for affording me the opportunity to cultivate my litigation skills and grow as a legal advocate.

Kali Fields

Kali Fields '25

I am so honored to have received the Students for Public Interest Law (SPIL) Stipend for the summer of 2023. I have always been interested in a public interest/service career. When I started law school, my dream job was to do family law for a legal aid organization in the DMV. I was so fortunate to intern with the Family Law Unit at the Neighborhood Legal Services Program in DC this past summer. It was an amazing experience that taught me so much about our legal system. I was able to work with clients, conduct legal research on child custody cases and other issues, and attend several court hearings. I would not have been able to pursue this opportunity had it not been for the SPIL stipend. I am so grateful for the experience and support. I cannot wait to see what is next for my legal career!

Eric D. Weissman Memorial Scholarship

Jessica Merino

Jessica Merino '25

This past summer I interned with Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. My experience in chambers was unique, not only because of the wonderful staff but because of the support Catholic Law provided through the Eric D. Weissman Memorial Scholarship.

I obtained my internship with Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby through the DC Hispanic Bar Association (HBA-DC) Judicial Summer Internship Program. Associate Judge Seoane Lopez, who spearheaded the HBA-DC program, selected applicants as judicial interns and through this program I had the amazing chance to work with Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby. Though I was nervous, I knew I was up to the task. Thanks to the internship, I have sharpened my research, writing, and analytical skills under the tutelage of the incredible Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby and her wonderful staff.

Without Catholic Law's summer stipend, I would not have been able to reside in Washington, D.C., over the summer or accept the internship. Through the program, I was able to network with other students in judicial internships, tour the Supreme Court, and meet dozens of other Latino legal professionals willing to provide mentorship. I was also able to learn the intricacies of the DC appellate court system and gained invaluable experience by aiding clerks in chambers with their research and analysis.

Spending the summer interning in Washington, D.C., was truly eye-opening. Thanks to the HBA-DC, Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby, and Catholic Law's Eric D. Weissman Memorial Scholarship, I am more than prepared to take my first steps into my legal career.

Squire Patton Boggs Foundation

Chris Rodriguez

Chris Rodriguez '24

This summer I clerked for Senator Wyden on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. My experience was transformative as I gained a nuanced understanding of international trade issues. Senator Wyden is a champion not only for domestic industry but also for advancing human rights in our trade streams. I supported the Senator's priorities with legal research, writing, and oral advocacy. I am indebted to the international trade team for pouring their time and resources into my professional development. They are one of the finest teams on Capitol Hill.

I am also grateful to the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation (SPBF) for their generosity and programming. Throughout the summer, I met with other scholarship recipients to learn about how they will promote justice with their law degrees. I am honored to join the Foundation's distinguished alumni pool as I will continue to learn from them throughout my career.

Kayla Bushey

Kayla Bushey '24

This summer I had the opportunity to serve as a legal intern with the U.S Small Business Administration with the support of the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation (SPBF). As a Squire Patton Boggs Public Policy Fellow, I shared my experience interning with the federal government with other Squire Patton Boggs Fellows at various events and made many long-term connections and memories. Additionally, the SPBF matched me with two mentors who have already provided invaluable advice and support as I prepare for my legal career.