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Meet the 2024 Rural Summer Legal Corps Student Fellows

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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, 50 Student Fellows from 36 law schools were selected from 262 applications to work remotely at 44 LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations across the United States and its territories, providing critical legal assistance to people in rural areas. 

Meet our 2024 RSLC Student Fellows and learn about how they will be helping to address some of the biggest challenges facing rural communities: 

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Ashley Aceves, University of San Francisco School of Law 

This summer, Ashley will work with Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles (NLSLA)’s Clean Slate Initiatives (CSI) practice, which assists system-impacted adults and youth with removing the legal barriers they face because of their criminal records. She will support and expand capacity for several ongoing CSI clinics that serve Antelope Valley residents, including an expungement clinic, a traffic ticket workshop, and a pro per advice clinic for individuals who are on probation or parole. 

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Cheyenne Acree, University of Maine School of Law 

Cheyenne will spend her summer with Pine Tree Legal Assistance’s Indigenous Peoples Unit (IPU) to help address legal issues affecting the Wabanaki Tribe. She will work with Pine Tree’s IPU on outreach and education to tribal communities; tribal, state and federal agencies to retain housing and benefits for tribal members; and case work representing Indigenous People in Tribal Court and State Court proceedings.   

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Justin Apperson, William & Mary School of Law 

At the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky (AppalReD), Justin will assist attorneys with handling clients whose Social Security Disability and SSI benefits were reviewed because of fraud. In this role, he will interview clients, review and summarize medical records, perform legal research, draft memoranda, and conduct community outreach. 

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Caleb Atkins, University of Tennessee College of Law 

At the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Caleb will assist with the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic and Tax Law Legal Check-Up Project. Caleb will engage in direct representation for individuals, particularly families in rural areas who face barriers to access to representation, and manage controversies with the IRS. Caleb will also organize community education events and update and distribute educational materials to rural community members to raise awareness of resources and laws protecting taxpayers. 

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Casey Barton, George Washington University Law School 

This summer, Casey will provide legal assistance to low-income communities in Vermont as part of Legal Services Vermont’s advocacy team. She will conduct an independent research project designed to enhance rural legal service delivery and will engage in direct legal services. In this capacity, she will help represent clients in court on eviction and relief from abuse order issues. 

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Levi Bevis, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law 

Levi, hosted at Inland Counties Legal Services, will help to expand systemic litigation and community lawyering projects, address systemic issues in the region, and build trainings and tools to take to rural communities. He will work with the Systemic and Impact Litigation practice group advocates to challenge unlawful policies, procedures, and practices that prevent indigent people from improving their lives. 

Equal Justice Works LogomarkJessie Black, Emory University School of Law 

At Georgia Legal Services Program, Jessie will use outreach to identify the legal needs and issues of greatest concern to seniors in underserved, rural areas. Based on the information gathered, she will work with legal advocates to develop and conduct workshops or clinics for senior citizens, develop educational materials for community members and service providers, and support attorneys in the provision of individual legal representation. 

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Jacob Boatman, Southern Illinois University School of Law 

At Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, Jacob will conduct outreach, community education, and provide legal assistance to a growing population of domestic violence survivors who face isolation and economic instability due to the remoteness of rural Illinois. He will provide safety planning and future legal risk management counseling for clients, as well as draft pleadings and letters, obtain evidence, and attend court and negotiations. 

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Madeline Brink, Belmont University College of Law 

Madeline will join the Beyond Opioids team at Legal Aid of Arkansas, where she will work with treatment clinics to access people diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD), screen their civil legal needs for a successful recovery and re-entry, and work with Beyond Opioids’ advocates in delivering ground-breaking, OUD-specific direct legal services to. She will also join recovery and partner groups in outreach events to develop a deeper understanding of the needs of the community as it relates to the impact of the opioid crisis. 

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Justin Bunch, Tulane University Law School 

At Nassau Suffolk Law Services Committee, Justin will join the Domestic Violence Project, which assists survivors of domestic violence in obtaining permanent orders of protection and establishing child custody and visitation orders. Justin will attend court, interact directly with staff and volunteers of local domestic violence agencies, and engage in community outreach. 

Equal Justice Works LogomarkCaleb Chambers, University of Mississippi School of Law 

Caleb will join the Indian Law Project at Legal Services of North Florida where he will help low-income and rural communities, with a focus on outreach and service to the members of the Muscogee Nation of Florida. He will engage in outreach throughout the rural communities and provide legal services that aid survivors of domestic violence as they find safety and stability and fight housing issues. Caleb will also assist with other areas of the law that support economic self-sufficiency for clients. 

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Brady Clark, William & Mary School of Law 

At the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Brady will continue the work of the Virginia Farm Workers’ Outreach and Tax Fraud Fellowship. There he will engage in community education, promote awareness and prevention of tax fraud targeting migrant farmworkers, and implement the accessibility actions’ plan as designed. Brady will spend the summer immersed in client interaction and outreach activities. 

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Hayden Cole, University of St. Thomas School of Law 

Hayden will join the Rural Housing Justice Project to represent and advise tenants in rural housing cases, with the aim to help families maintain their housing and stability. Hayden will interview and advise clients, provide representation in housing court, negotiate settlements on behalf of clients, and investigate housing cases. 

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Whitney Dean, Michigan State University College of Law 

At Legal Services of Northern Michigan (LSNM), Whitney will continue to build a network of family law clinics for self-represented litigants. She will advocate for domestic and sexual abuse survivors by assisting LSNM staff attorneys with client intakes, interviews, research, document drafting and hearing preparation. 

Equal Justice Works LogomarkDylan DiGiovanni, Creighton University School of Law 

Hosted at Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, Dylan will spend the summer focusing on three priority areas—family law, public benefits, and removal of barriers to legal representation. He will observe and participate in all aspects of legal aid, including client intake, staffing, case handling, advocacy,and community outreach and education. 

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Kyle Ericsson, University of Notre Dame Law School 

Hosted at Legal Aid of Wyoming, Kyle will work with legal aid attorneys and judges on the Wind River Reservation to increase awareness about and use of the peacemaker court, which helps alleviate demand of Tribal members seeking access to justice and helps increase justice in a culturally important way. Kyle will help refine peacemaker court operations and support direct legal assistance to clients who are not able to make use of the peacemaker court. 

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Benjamin Fisher, City University of New York School of Law 

Hosted at the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Benjamin will work with an attorney on various types of cases, including eviction, divorce, custody, child support, family offenses, and matters related to vulnerable families on the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Reservation.  

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Elizabeth (Liz) Gaccione, University of Virginia School of Law 

At the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Liz will continue the work of the Virginia Farm Workers’ Outreach and Tax Fraud Fellowship. There she will engage in community education, promote awareness and prevention of tax fraud targeting migrant farmworkers, and implement the accessibility actions’ plan as designed. Liz will spend the summer immersed in client interaction and outreach activities. 

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Marcos Gonzalez, University of Oregon School of Law 

Marcos will join Central California Legal Services (CCLS) to support their current activities and strategically broaden the organization’s reach into many of the rural communities throughout their service area. To help CCLS reach their goals, he will conduct legal research and client interviews, draft legal documents and education materials, and assist with various client and case management needs. 

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Kelsey Gunvalson, University of Wisconsin Law School 

Kelsey will serve as the Native American Housing Rights and Elder Outreach Fellow at Judicare Legal Aid this summer. She will help to address the unique challenges faced by Native American Communities in Wisconsin and empower Native American elders and tribal benefits specialists by providing comprehensive education on the post-pandemic changes in public benefits and ensuring access to stable housing through legal advocacy in tribal courts. 

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Tessa Hammond, University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law 

Tessa will support Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)’s Housing Law Practice Group with a particular focus on MLSA’s Montana Eviction Intervention Program (MEIP). She will conduct intake interviews and provide supervised legal advice to tenants facing eviction, and help route clients for full representation, mediation, and other wrap-around services. 

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Brooke Hardin, Indiana University Maurer School of Law 

At Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, Brooke will engage with clients suffering from substance use disorder (SUD) to identify their legal issues and how civil legal aid can help them promote successful recovery. She will interview clients, research issues, create legal documents, attend court, and help develop outreach plans to reach target clients. Her work will primarily focus on family and domestic violence law and criminal records expungement.

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Gabrielle Harger, William & Mary School of Law 

Gabrielle will join the Farmworker Legal Services (FLS) team at the Michigan Advocacy Program, where she will work alongside farmworkers and the FLS team to improve the quality of services rendered to this population, enhance communication and information sharing, and strengthen advocacy and farmworker client communities. 

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Lam Ho Bao, Tulane University Law School 

Bao Lam will work with Alaska Legal Services Corporation staff to empower local communities by increasing knowledge of the legal system and local resources. He will engage in direct legal services and assist with the Community Justice Worker Resource Center—an online resource that trains non-attorney community advocates to assist clients—and BeneFactor,a free digital assistant that guides community navigators through the Social Security Disability application process. 

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Teagan Hughes, Indiana University Maurer School of Law 

This summer Teagan will work with the Clearing Legal Hurdles to Employment project at the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, which helps individuals resolve issues that are a barrier to success in finding or keeping a job. She will support outreach and education, including collaborating with the Ohio Justice Bus to schedule and publicize in-person clinics and events. She will also engage in services to clients, partners, and communities. 

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Ramiah Johnson, University of Mississippi School of Law 

Ramiah will spend her summer working at North Mississippi Rural Legal Services in Oxford, MS. She will work on the Mississippi Taxpayer Assistance Project, which is committed to helping low-income taxpayers who seek free legal assistance or representation regarding tax matters. 

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Josef Khaimov, St. John’s University School of Law 

Hosted at East River Legal Services, Josef will provide direct case service assistance to clients in the Aberdeen area by supporting staff with client interviews, research, drafting pleadings, and hearing preparation. He will help address the legal needs of new immigrants to the area, especially in the areas of housing, consumer, and family law. 

Equal Justice Works LogomarkAnia Korpanty, University of California at Los Angeles School of Law 

Ania will work at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County this summer to provide dedicated research to identify the specific needs of LGBTQ+ youth. They will also conduct outreach to make certain the organization can assist with the legal issues that most impact the community. Ania will also create curricula aimed at educating LGBTQ+ youth and their families and community organizations about the legal remedies available for LGBTQ+ youth. 

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Will Lavallo, University of Texas School of Law 

This summer, Will will join the Migrant Farmworker Division at Colorado Legal Services (CLS) where he will assist in meeting the legal needs of farmworkers that so frequently go unmet. He will assist clients with issues including wage theft, sexual harassment, human trafficking, and immigration. Will also plans to travel throughout the rural areas of the region, visiting migrant farm workers to ensure that the workers have information regarding their legal rights and CLS services. 

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Jesse Leaneagh, University of Tulsa College of Law 

Jesse will work at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid on the Farmworker Team along the Texas-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. While working closely with the Farmworker Team, he will assist with a variety of employment law matters affecting migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. 

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Hana Lewis, Louisiana State University Paul M. Herbert Law Center 

In her project, Hana will assist Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corporation  in expanding access to justice in two rural parishes with some of the highest poverty rates in the service area. She will engage in extensive community outreach with government, nonprofit, and community stakeholders to raise awareness of how civil legal can help improve the lives of vulnerable community members. 

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Emily Manley, Mercer University School of Law 

Emily will join the Beyond Opioids team at the Center for Arkansas Legal Services. There, Emily will work with treatment clinics to access people diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD), screen their civil legal needs for a successful recovery and re-entry, and work with Beyond Opioids’ advocates in delivering ground-breaking, OUD-specific direct legal services to eligible clients. Emily will also work with recovery and partner groups in outreach events to develop a deeper understanding of the needs of the community as it relates to the impact of the opioid crisis. 

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Peytyn Moses, University of Tennessee College of Law 

At West Tennessee Legal Services in Jackson, TN, Peyten will provide education, outreach, and direct legal assistance to low-income West Tennesseans re-entering society after being incarcerated in her project. Along with developing resources, expanding clinics, and educating partner nonprofits, the Fellow also will provide direct services to clients at driver license restoration clinics. 

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Francis Nicholai, Michigan State University College of Law 

This summer, Francis will work with New Mexico Legal Aid in Albuquerque, NM. He will assist with outreach, legal research, and all aspects of providing legal assistance to low-income veterans and patients in rural New Mexico. His project will cover various areas of the law such as consumer protection, landlord/tenant, family law, benefits and discharge upgrades. 

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Aliyah Pickeral, Michigan State University College of Law 

At Michigan Indian Legal Services, Aliyah will work with staff attorneys who have active child welfare matters in the tribal court system. She will assist with family law related client intakes and review current child welfare and family law related standard letters, forms, website resources, and other materials and propose edits and updates as well as create additional self-help and educational materials. 

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Kjell Redal, Lewis & Clark Law School 

At Legal Aid Services of Oregon, Kjell will help migrant agricultural workers access their legal rights. His work will include gathering information about workers’ experiences to create accessible educational materials about their rights, conducting intakes of impacted workers, assisting in direct legal work to help workers protect their rights, and educating migrant workers in rural areas on best practices to protect their workplace rights. 

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Diego Romero, Marquette University Law School 

At Legal Action of Wisconsin, Diego will join the Farmworkers Project where he will help bridge the access to justice gap that farmworkers face by conducting Know-Your-Rights community education and outreach to rural farmworker communities. He will also provide direct services on legal issues identified by agricultural workers. 

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Fouad Rtaimate, University of New Mexico School of Law 

At DNA-Peoples Legal Services, Fouad will be immersed in a tribal law program by working alongside, and under the supervision of, Navajo- and Hopi-licensed attorneys to provide outreach, community legal education, and a full spectrum of legal assistance. Fouad will help to identify gaps in tribal law to better ensure consistency across tribal courts.  

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Quinn Rumler, University of Wisconsin Law School 

Quinn will join the Employment/Re-entry Project at Legal Action of Wisconsin where he will help to reduce barriers to employment for people living at or below the poverty line. Quinn will  focuson advising people on the status of their driver’s license, litigating to lift driver’s license suspensions, and establishing reasonable payment or community service plans. He will also be involved in criminal record correction andexpungement work. 

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Meghan Sanders, University of Missouri School of Law 

At Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Meghan will help expand outreach efforts and serve domestic violence victims living in rural Missouri. Meghan will conduct outreach to minority communities as well as intake screenings and client interviews, draft pleadings, docket management, court appearances, and closeout assistance. 

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Chancy Schaaf, University of Tulsa College of Law 

This summer, Chancy will work at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Ediburg, TX. In her project, she will focus on the civil repercussions stemming from a client’s interaction with the criminal justice system. Her work will focus primarily on issues related to barriers obtaining a driver’s license, and she will help to investigate and prepare comprehensive advice and services to those clients unable to obtain a license. 

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Sasha Shirazi, Florida International University College of Law 

Hosted at Legal Services of Greater Miami, Sasha will work in the priority areas of family law, housing, homelessness prevention and assistance, disability claims, and potential disaster recovery issues. Her work will include client interviews, outreach, drafting legal documents, assisting in trial and hearing preparations, and attending court and administrative hearings. 

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Shay Storz, Cornell University Law School 

Shay, hosted by Legal Assistance of Western New York, will provide assistance to low-income clients and work to reduce barriers to employment and increase access to unemployment insurance benefits. Their work will be centered on direct client case work, including screening and intake, client interviewing, legal research and drafting court documents. 

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Samantha Troendly, Capital University Law School

This summer, Samantha will work with Legal Aid of Southeast and Central Ohio to help those re-entering society after incarceration. In her project, she will assist in preparing, pulling, and summarizing client documents and court andadministrative records prior to re-entry clinic registration. Additionally, she will assist staff with identifying helpful community partners and employers for clients. 

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Eliot Usherenko, Boston College Law School 

Eliot, hosted at Legal Aid of West Virginia (LAWV), will work closely with LAWV staff on eviction prevention with a particular focus on an emergent issue: manufactured home tenants at risk of eviction due to large corporations purchasing local mobile home parks. He will also assist in several innovative projects and will help conduct outreach, develop legal materials, deliver legal education, and provide legal services in these innovative site-based settings. 

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Grace Vanhooser, Florida International University College of Law 

Grace will work with Legal Services of North Florida’s Immigration Project to increase trust and access to legal help within their service area. Grace will help non-citizens who are eligible for services in civil legal issues related to their immigration status. Her work will include education and outreach, legal clinics to help with naturalization, and direct client assistance. 

Equal Justice Works LogomarkChelsie Verstraete, University of Missouri School of Law 

Hosted at Mid-Missouri Legal Services Corporation, Chelsie will work with the housing law team to address housing issues that impact rural residents. Her work will include conducting outreach and presentations, researching legal issues that arise in rural housing cases, and assisting with housing cases including client interviews, investigation, discovery, and drafting pleadings. 

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Hannah Waltz, CUNY School of Law 

At DNA-Peoples Legal Services, Hannah will be immersed in a tribal law program by working alongside, and under the supervision of, Navajo- and Hopi-licensed attorneys to provide outreach, community legal education, and a full spectrum of legal assistance. She will help to identify areas of tribal law that can be strengthened to better ensure equity across tribal courts. 

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Christin Watkins, University of Wisconsin Law School 

This summer, Christin will assist with the Preventing Rental Evictions Program (PREP) at Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services. In her project, Christin will participate in meetings between landlords, tenants, and the PREP navigators to resolve disputes, and help represent tenants being evicted in formal eviction actions. 

To learn more about the Rural Summer Legal Corps, click here. To learn more about the opportunities that Equal Justice Works provides for law students, click here. 

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