Public Interest Law Initiative

Panel Discusses Supervising Interns and Fellows at Legal Service Agency Roundtable

Posted on: May 1, 2017

Agency Roundtable

On April 28th, representatives from PILI’s partner public interest law organizations met for the annual Legal Service Agency Roundtable. This year, the program was about “Creating the Ultimate Internship and Fellowship Experience” and featured a panel presentation moderated by PILI Program Director Beth Jensen.

The panel included a former PILI Intern, Jonathan Adair of Kirkland & Ellis, a former PILI Fellow, Sarah Hess of Legal Council for Health Justice, and Intern and Fellow supervisors, Kate Shank of LAF and Pat Wrona of CARPLS. Below is a summary of the topics they discussed.

Utilizing time and resources to everyone’s benefit

The panelists discussed how important it is to plan for the arrival of Interns and Fellows and have work ready for them to do. They suggested asking other attorneys in the office if they might benefit from the assistance of Interns and Fellows, and have a general sense of the needs of the organization as a whole. This could help supervisors properly prioritize the Interns’ and Fellows’ time and expose Interns and Fellows to more work within the organization. Panelists also discussed training strategies and resources to help the Interns and Fellow be most successful.

Aiding in professional development of Interns and Fellows

Former PILIs explained that Interns and Fellows typically do not  want to be sent home early or be given free time, but that they are looking for as much work experience as possible. They have also expressed a desire for feedback, so panelists discussed how to provide timely and effective feedback in a way that is most beneficial for the Interns and Fellows. Panelists suggested making sure each Intern and Fellow has one specific supervisor who gives them feedback.

Engaging Interns and Fellows in future volunteer or board service

Attendees were encouraged to start fostering long-term relationships with Interns as Fellows, considering that this year’s Interns could be future board members and volunteers. Interns and Fellows might more readily consider future involvement if they feel part of the organization during their summer at the agency. Panelists suggested including Interns and Fellows in agency meetings and bringing them to court to help them feel involved and see the overall impact of the organization.

Post-graduate fellowships

Sarah Hess, a former PILI Intern and Skadden Fellow talked about her experience applying for a post-graduate fellowships. Then, panelists answered questions about the different Fellowships available.

After the panel discussion, PILI Program Associate Brent Page reviewed feedback from previous Interns and Fellows and discussed how their comments could be incorporated into future programs.

View the materials distributed at this program »

Learn more about PILI’s Pro Bono Roundtable Series »

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