/ Blog Post
Each year, Equal Justice Works partners with the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) for the Rural Summer Legal Corps (RSLC), a program that addresses the pressing legal issues facing rural communities. Program participants, called Student Fellows, spend eight to ten weeks during the summer serving at LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations where they help to provide direct legal services, engage in community outreach and education, and build capacity at host organizations.
This year, 40 Student Fellows from 36 law schools were selected from 333 applications to work remotely at 37 LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations across the United States and its territories, providing critical legal assistance to people in rural areas.
Meet our 2022 RSLC Student Fellows and learn about how they will be helping to address some of the biggest challenges facing rural communities:
Hannah Atkinson (she/her/hers), Pace University School of Law
At Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, Hannah will help launch a much-needed project to identify with tenants of mobile parks that are at risk of homelessness, have been living in illegal and inhabitable conditions, and have been subjected to other illegal practices.
John (J.D.) Barnes (he/him/his), University of Oklahoma College of Law
J.D. will develop litigation strategies and a community education program for Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Native American Program, which provides legal services to Native Americans experiencing legal issues in or involved with courts in Nebraska. He will also provide direct legal services to Native Americans residing in communities on or near reservations or in tribal service areas who have legal issues related to housing.
Elise Baroni (she/her/hers), University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Leflar Law Center
Hosted at Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc, Elise will join Beyond Opioids—Breaking Legal Barriers for Families in Recovery—the first collaborative project among legal aid programs focused on people impacted by the opioid crisis and other substance use disorders. There, Elise will help provide direct legal services to low-income Arkansans with Opioid Use Disorder experiencing barriers to treatment and conduct outreach and education in partnership with methadone providers in the underserved Delta Region.
Samantha Beauchamp (she/her/hers), Suffolk University Law School
At Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc (LawNY), Samantha will assist low-income clients in reducing barriers to employment and accessing unemployment insurance benefits. Additionally, Samantha will help LawNY expand its employment-related legal services provided to rural clients, especially to those who are under-or-unemployed due to having a criminal record.
Tara Blackwell (she/her/hers), Washington and Lee University School of Law
Tara will work with a special initiative at Center for Arkansas Legal Services to reduce generational poverty through home ownership and estate planning. Her work will concentrate on the poorest communities of the Arkansas Delta. As part of this work, Tara will help protect family land through “Wills on Wheels” clinics to prevent title issues before they occur, participate in community outreach, and provide litigation support to staff attorneys at her host organization.
Emily Borbon (she/her/hers), Belmont University College of Law
Emily will work with Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas to provide direct legal services, outreach, and community education to underserved populations in Wichita Falls, Texas. She will focus on housing stability and assist in three priority areas: eviction defense/rental assistance cases, debt collection cases, and expunctions and driver’s license restoration cases.
William (Billy) Bradley (he/him/his), University of California, Berkeley School of Law
At Legal Services Alabama, Billy will support his host organization’s Rural Economic Improvement Project (REIP), an initiative created to improve access to civil justice and build legal empowerment in rural Alabama communities. As a Student Fellow, Billy will help represent clients, conduct community outreach, and organize hybrid responses targeted to the needs of clients and communities.
Patrick Brogan (he/him/his), Villanova University School of Law
Hosted at Ohio State Legal Services, Patrick will assist with defending tenants facing eviction and gathering critical information from multiple counties, including court data and documented stories of individuals with disparate eviction outcomes because of their county location. Additionally, Patrick will attend hearings in these courts, take notes and track the outcomes of cases to help determine where future Tenant Advocacy Project clinics or other eviction diversion tools would be beneficial.
Dayleen Chery (she/her/hers), Southern University Law Center
Dayleen will work with her host organization, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc, on employment law matters affecting migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. She will assist with negotiations and litigation on current cases, along with intakes and case development for various complaints that the team receives during the summer.
Gabe Cripe (he/him/his), University of Cincinnati College of Law
At Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, Gabe will support his host organization’s Kinship Care Team, which assists grandparents and others who are caring for children whose parents cannot raise them due to a variety of issues, including substance use, untreated mental illness, or incarceration. He will assist with outreach, maintenance of referral relationships with partner agencies, brief-service legal clinics and legal advocacy to help clients access public benefits like Medicaid, Food Stamps, and cash payments to support the children they are raising.
Monte Cole (he/him/his), University of Montana School of Law
Hosted by Nevada Legal Services, Monte will work directly with a farmworker rights attorney and an outreach coordinator to provide legal education, access to justice, and investigation and defenses against rights violations of farmworkers. Monte will also help represent clients when necessary and conduct legal research on labor rights issues.
Hannah Davis (she/her/hers), Tulane University Law School
Hannah will assist Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ASLC) in efforts to empower communities by increasing knowledge of the legal system and local resources. She will also assist ALSC staff with the Pro Bono Training Academy, which is an online resource that trains non-attorney community advocates to assist clients, and BeneFactor, an app that guides caseworkers through the steps needed to assemble a successful disability application.
Jacob Engelhardt (he/him/his), Boston College Law School
Jacob will work with Land of Lincoln Legal Aid to provide outreach, community education, and legal assistance to a growing population of domestic violence survivors who face isolation and economic instability due to the remoteness of rural Illinois which lacks public transportation, childcare, and sometimes even cellphone service. Jacob will also be trained on how to assist and represent these at-risk clients holistically, particularly as these clients often have more than one legal issue at a time.
Rodrigo Fernandez-Ortega (he/him/his), Willamette University College of Law
Rodrigo will conduct outreach to low-income housing communities, mobile home parks, and resource centers with his host organization, Legal Aid Services of Oregon. He will also educate tenants about their rights, work with staff attorneys to provide legal representation in eviction cases, collect data about eviction proceedings; and examine the compliance of courts with various rules and statutes meant to protect tenants.
Maiya Fudge (she/her/hers), University of Florida Levin College of Law
At Legal Service of Greater Miami, Maiya will assist with the Mobile Home Park Advocacy Project which serves mobile home park residents in rural Miami. Through this project, she will help provide access to justice for mobile home park homeowners’ associations, composed of low-income mobile home park owners, in park closure cases and will legally challenge adverse rules, regulation changes, and rent increases.
Cassie Goodnight (she/her/hers), Washington University School of Law
At Oklahoma Indian Legal Services, Cassie will provide legal services through the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Parent Representation Project. She will provide a variety of legal services to parents and families to help enforce the ICWA, which prevents the arbitrary removal of Indian children from their homes.
Andrew Green (he/him/his), Villanova University School of Law
Andrew will work on the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands’ Rural Reentry Outreach & Legal Clinics Project, which provides access to justice for the formerly incarcerated. He will support legal work to assist low-income, rural individuals facing societal barriers due to prior criminal records, providing services such as criminal record expungement, driver’s license reinstatement, and certificates of employability for private employers and state licensing.
Matthew Gulick (he/him/his), Lewis & Clark Law School
Hosted by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Matthew will work with the Community Development and Environmental Justice team to ensure that rural communities are not overburdened by air and water pollution, have access to safe drinking water, and are able to fight predatory foreclosure practices by an irrigation district.
Kelsey Gunvalson (she/her/hers), University of Wisconsin Law School
At Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota Corporation, Kelsey will work on Reach Justice Minnesota, a statewide network of community-based civil justice kiosks and mobile civil legal aid clinics. She will expand the use of the legal kiosk network across northern Minnesota and establish regularly scheduled mobile legal clinics in a variety of court, agency, nonprofit, and other community locations.
Jada Haynes, (she/her/hers) Southern University Law Center
Jada will work with host organization Georgia Legal Services Program to assist rural communities of color in securing homeownership and preserving wealth in communities that are most affected by natural disasters. Jada will conduct needs assessments, draft educational materials for high-risk communities, and create training materials for volunteer lawyers to assist with FEMA recovery.
Anna Henson (she/her/hers), Michigan State University College of Law
At Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Inc, Anna will work within the Basic Unit and the Family Law and Victims’ Rights Unit to provide legal services to low-income clients throughout Aroostook County, Maine. She will combine substantive legal work, research projects, community outreach, and a needs assessment to resolve complex legal issues on behalf of more low-income clients.
Millie Hobaish (she/her/hers), University of California, Irvine School of Law
Hosted by DNA-Peoples Legal Services, Millie will work with the supervision of Navajo licensed attorneys to provide outreach, community legal education, and a full spectrum of legal assistance to residents in the Navajo communities.
Hannah Holmberg (she/her/hers), University of St. Thomas School of Law
At Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota Corporation, Hannah will work on Reach Justice Minnesota, a statewide network of community-based civil justice kiosks and mobile civil legal aid clinics. She will expand the use of the legal kiosk network across northern Minnesota and establish regularly scheduled mobile legal clinics in a variety of court, agency, nonprofit, and other community locations.
Christopher Irsfeld (he/him/his), New York University School of Law
Christopher will address legal issues affecting rural transgender and gender-non-conforming Californians while working at his host organization, California Rural Legal Assistance. He will work with the LGBTQ+ Program to investigate potential harassment and discrimination claims and provide direct legal services in areas such as identity-document updates, immigration, employment, housing, healthcare access, and education.
Paige Kendrick, (she/her/hers), Washington University School of Law
Hosted by North Penn Legal Services, Paige will provide outreach, community education, and representation in rural counties which have significant needs in housing, debt, and consumer matters. Paige will also conduct outreach, create networking opportunities, and use legal information to educate communities.
Haley Kilma, (she/her/hers), University of Mississippi School of Law
At North Mississippi Rural Legal Services, Haley will provide free tax representation for increased numbers of low-income taxpayers who cannot afford to pay private attorneys to address their tax problems. Haley will also expand efforts to reach taxpayers through education and outreach in various Mississippi communities and raise awareness of available resources and clinics.
Robert Lass (he/him/his), University of Missouri School of Law
Robert will help Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Inc. expand outreach efforts in rural counties and increase their capacity, mainly in serving domestic violence victims living in rural northeastern Missouri. Robert will work with mentors to conduct intake screenings, interview clients, draft pleadings, manage dockets, appear in court, and assist with case closeout, primarily for domestic violence cases.
Maya Madden (she/her/hers), Texas A&M University School of Law
Hosted by Lone Star Legal Aid, Maya will implement the Homestead and Disability Property Tax Exemption project for low-income residents of rural Texas. She will conduct community outreach and education, provide legal counsel, and help represent clients who need guidance securing tax exemptions or are fighting for the return of their homes after unjust tax foreclosure lawsuits led to home loss.
Olivia Marks (she/her/hers), Tulane University Law School
At Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corporation, Olivia will focus largely on ensuring that communities impacted by Hurricane Ida throughout rural parishes have access to justice and are not left behind in the recovery process. She will provide legal services to help these individuals recover after disasters and will provide significant outreach.
Robert Necciai (he/him/his), University of Pittsburgh School of Law
As a Student Fellow at Neighborhood Legal Services Association, Robert will work closely with experienced attorneys and partners to connect more clients to custody legal services. His work will include establishing regular outreach information sessions to provide information on custody rights and responsibilities and helping with custody cases.
Hana Muslic (she/her/hers), DePaul University College of Law
Hosted by Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc, Hana will focus on meeting the challenge of the increased number of housing and eviction matters that will come forth due to the end of the Minnesota Eviction Moratorium Phaseout. With only two housing attorneys available to meet this increasing demand for legal services at Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Hana will help to directly serve clients in landlord-tenant and other housing matters.
Regan Richards (she/her/hers), George Washington University Law School
At Montana Legal Services Association, Regan will conduct intake interviews, provide supervised legal advice to tenants facing eviction, participate in landlord-tenant mediations, and help route clients for full representation, mediation, and other wrap-around services.
Lauren Rowell (she/her/hers), University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Lauren will work directly with attorneys at Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York on landlord-tenant and family law proceedings involving domestic violence to address problems faced by rural clients in accessing legal assistance and representation.
Gabriella Sayger (she/her/hers), Appalachian School of Law
Hosted by Legal Aid of West Virginia, Gabriella will help provide direct civil legal services focusing on stabilizing clients’ access to housing and economic stability for rural renters at risk of eviction. Gabriella will also provide targeted outreach and legal education for community partners and the public on legal issues.
Aaron Schaffer-Neitz (he/him/his), Stanford Law School
At Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc, Aaron will gain experience with all types of cases from agricultural workers across New York, including trafficking, wage theft, workplace health and safety, discrimination, and civil rights. His work will have a special emphasis on housing issues experienced by New York farmworkers living in employer-provided housing such as brown drinking water, mold, sewage backup, cracked windows, exposed wiring, overcrowded conditions, and a lack of heat during cold months.
Maryn Sommerfeldt (she/her/hers), University of Oregon School of Law
Hosted by Utah Legal Services, Maryn will work closely with experienced attorneys to conduct outreach and serve clients in rural and frontier areas of Utah. She will help provide targeted outreach to underserved populations, organize a community education and outreach plan to assist with debt collection cases, and provide direct services to clients in debt collection cases.
Gabe Spellberg (he/him/his), Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology
At Colorado Legal Services, Gabe will work with the Migrant Farm Worker Division to meet the legal needs of farmworkers in the Western Slope region of Colorado. His work will focus on working conditions, wage issues, civil rights, sexual harassment, human trafficking, and immigration.
Autumn Westhoff (she/her/hers), University of Missouri School of Law
Autumn will help Legal Services of Eastern Missouri expand their outreach efforts and increase capacity by serving domestic violence victims living in rural northeastern Missouri. She will work with mentors to conduct intake screenings, interview clients, draft pleadings, manage dockets, appear in court, and assist with case closeout, primarily for domestic violence cases.
Ashley (Ash) Wilkie (she/her/hers), Michigan State University College of Law
Hosted by Michigan Indian Legal Services, Ash will assist staff with community outreach and planning on-site and virtual clinics. She will also attend three clinics in rural areas and draft estate planning documents, such as wills, powers of attorney, and patient advocate forms.
Visit here for more information about the Rural Summer Legal Corps.