Public Interest Law Initiative

Alumni Spotlight: Emily Seymore, 2009 PILI Intern

Posted on: October 10, 2013

ESeymoreEmily Seymore is the leader of the Alumni Fundraising Team of the PILI Alumni Network Leadership Council. The Fundraising Team heads up PILI Alumni fundraising efforts, raising money to support PILI Interns each summer. A former PILI Intern herself, Emily became involved as the Fundraising Team Leader to encourage other Alumni and attorneys to give back and support PILI’s mission. “I believe PILI is filling a key gap by uniting and rallying the Illinois legal community—both public interest and private practitioners—around the issue of enhancing services for people in Illinois in need of legal representation,” she says.

Emily did her PILI Internship at LAF in 2009, working on their Public Benefits Hotline and helping over 80 low-income seniors and families obtain critical health support services (Medicare and Medicaid), cash assistance (TANF), and food stamp benefits (SNAP). “Often, these families were not receiving the proper benefit amount, had difficulty completing their applications, or had conflicts with their case managers,” Emily explains. “It was very rewarding to help people navigate complex program requirements and policy manuals to ensure they received necessary basic services, such as food and healthcare.”

After completing her PILI Internship at LAF, Emily interned with the International Human Rights Clinic at the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law. Through the clinic, she traveled to Malawi, Africa to advocate for the resentencing of prisoners serving mandatory death sentences, which were converted to life sentences after Malawi’s highest court struck down the death penalty. “Since most of the offenses were lower-tier manslaughter and petty theft crimes, we interviewed the prisoners and drafted mitigation memorandums that advocated for their release or for a more appropriate, reduced sentence,” Emily recounts. Before finishing law school, she also interned for the Deputy Regional Counsel for the U.S. EPA Region 5, where she researched state regulations on Hydraulic Fracturing in the Great Lakes area. Environmental issues are of interest to Emily given she was born and raised in Portland, Oregon.

Emily graduated from the Northwestern University School of Law in 2011 and joined the litigation department of Paul Hastings LLP, representing individuals and corporations on matters in the areas of complex commercial litigation, products liability, white-collar criminal defense, internal corporate investigations, and compliance counseling. Emily has found Paul Hastings to be very supportive of her personal commitment to pro bono. “Paul Hastings encourages me and supports me in representing individuals in adversary proceedings in bankruptcy court, asylum seekers in immigration court, and the parents of students with disabilities seeking special education services,” she says. As glad as she is for her firm’s support, Emily is also grateful to PILI for helping her get connected to causes she cares about: “I am so thankful to PILI for providing me with an introduction to Chicago’s public interest community and dedicated pro bono professionals.”

Emily encourages everyone to attend PILI’s upcoming Alumni Reunion Reception this Wednesday, October 16th at Haymarket, for drinks, appetizers, and good company in support of a great cause. “With our amazing group of alumni and supporters, I guarantee you’ll leave feeling honored to be part of the Illinois legal community,” says Emily, “and you may even leave with a fabulous raffle prize from our raffle donors at Divvy Bikes, Vosges Chocolates, Revolution Brewery, Big Onion Tavern Restaurants, Phil Stefani Restaurant Group, Penny Lane Hair Studios, SkyDeck, Lifeline Theatre, and many others!”

 

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