Hello BayLegal followers!
We here at BayLegal hope you are all having a great summer. We have been working nonstop to make sure that our clients have a stress free summer. Every summer, a number of law students and undergraduates volunteer with us and gain essential experience in the legal field. This program has been a part of BayLegal since before BayLegal was BayLegal. Starting in 2000, BayLegal was formed as the end result of a massive merger of different legal aid organizations servicing different parts of the Bay Area. Each of these organizations had their own law clerks and with the merger, the law clerk programs combined as well. Ever since then, BayLegal has hosted at most 35 law clerks a summer.
This summer, we have yet another group of great law clerks and interns for a 10 week period. We have the pleasure of working with 33 talented and capable young people all interested in the legal field. Our clerks and interns hail from 16 different law schools in five states. They were selected from a large batch of applicants, and their work speaks for themselves. Join us in welcoming our summer clerks and interns to BayLegal and get to know a few of them better.
Here are some of their stories:
Hails from: Canada/Illinois
School: U.C. Berkeley School of Law
BayLegal Focus: Impact and Housing
Growing up in Canada, Zainab Ramahi’s passion for justice and truth-seeking lit her path all the way to Berkeley Law, and has influenced her to exploring a career in economic justice and public benefits law. When asked why she chose to work in Public Interest, she recounts, “the public interest field has a focus on community and helping those that are the most vulnerable.”
This summer, Zainab is working with BayLegal’s Impact Litigation team as well as providing direct services to clients, an important combination, which she believes should be integrated in all law organizations. “I want to to understand how and why lawyers zoom out and find institutional problems in the system from their individual cases… how finding those problems can affect and inform the [entire] system,” she says.
When asked to describe herself in three words, Zainab chose Passionate, because of her palpable devotion to justice. Committed–a quality she models after one of her biggest role models, Malcolm X, for his reflective, hyper aware commitment to Islam and Black people. She chose Curious because of her immense love for learning.
Hails from: Pleasanton, CA
School: Notre Dame Law School
BayLegal Focus: Economic Justice & Housing
Originally from Pleasanton, California, James Cheney is a force of will and ambition with a deep desire to be a more conscious and aware member of our society. Currently a third-year law student at Notre Dame Law School, James hopes to use his experience at BayLegal this summer to explore a career in public interest law to “help the people that need it the most.”
James’ commitment to others goes beyond just words on a page; He strives to leave all the spaces he inhabits better than when he arrived: New to the Bay Area, he even brings trash bags along on his weekend hikes to clean up litter.
“Working at BayLegal is the best opportunity to show the world that selflessness is better than selfishness. It gives me the opportunity to actually make those individual impacts in clients lives, and help people solve the problems that they have,” he says.
As his first formal experience in the legal world, James is ready to learn the ropes, and to find ways where he can leave his mark on both BayLegal and the legal world as a whole.
When asked how he would describe himself in three words, James answered: Creative, because he said that he strives to find unique ways to consider and solve problems; Leader, because he believes that true leaders are those that can lead people just as well as they can listen to people; and Integrity, because he feels it’s exactly what he wants to embody as a professional.