The 22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held in the evening on Friday, February 13, 2015 at the Law School. Proceeds from the event go to support PILS fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer. Katherine Seelow, a current law student, shares her experience here as a PILS fellow. Besides her work as a PILS fellow, Katherine is helping to organize this year’s auction.
Where did you work as a PILS fellow?
I was lucky enough to be a fellow twice-over. First, I worked for the Milwaukee Justice Center. Next, I worked at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, in the Felony Trial Division.
What kind of work did you do there?
At the Milwaukee Justice Center I worked the Family Law Help Desk, helping the pro-se litigants with a wide variety of family law issues fill out the appropriate paperwork. Additionally I was able to conduct research on family law issues and participate in tracking the progress of MJC clients. At the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, I was assigned to a trial team and helped them organize discovery on felony, criminal cases. I was also able to appear on the record under the 711 Student Practice Rule.
How was the experience meaningful to you?
My experience at the MJC was meaningful to me because it gave me great experience working with clients, one-on-one, which is not something you often get to do as a rising 2L. My experience as a Law Clerk with the Cook County State’s Attorney was meaningful because I got to prepare and handle cases on the record.
What did you learn in the course of your work?
I learned over the course of my work at both internships the importance of patience and preparation. Often a client at the MJC might not have a problem we can actually help him or her with, but it was important to patient with that person and allow them to be heard. Preparation is important because, while you cannot predict every alternative to what can happen, you can prepare to the best of your ability. By being both patient and prepared, you can work effectively with other attorneys and help your clients at the same time.
What do you like best about public interest work?
I love public interest work because what you are doing is meaningful. You are helping real people, with real problems. And, while you may not ever make a lot of money doing it, you can rest at the end of the day knowing your work will in someway shape or form make someone’s life better. There are no immediate returns in this kind of work, but the ability to affect positive change is priceless.
What are you doing to help with the PILS auction?
I am in charge of games this year. One thing that I am particularly proud of is the new addition of Plinko! In addition to helping develop games, I will work with the Day-Of Team to get things running smoothly and help shepherd volunteers to where they need to go throughout the event.