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PILI Alumni Spotlight: Davina DiPaolo, 2019 Law Student Intern

PILI is excited to welcome Davina DiPaolo to our Alumni Network Leadership Council as the 2019 Law Student Intern Alumni Representative. Each year, PILI appoints one Intern and one Fellow from the most recent class to serve on the Council for a two-year term.

Last summer, Davina was an Intern at the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the ACLU of Illinois where she conducted legal research and drafted internal research memoranda regarding the limitations of religious accommodations in the healthcare context. She did research for a case that is currently before the United States Supreme Court regarding Title VII sex discrimination (E.E.O.C v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc.). Davina is a double PILI, having done a PILI Internship in 2018 at Lambda Legal where she did legal research, interviewed help desk callers and managed correspondence from incarcerated individuals.

“My fondest memories from my PILI experience include the relationships I forged with fellow interns and staff members from my two host organizations,” said Davina. “I’m still in contact with many of them, and I’m grateful for their collegiality and all that I’ve learned from them.”

Beyond her PILI Internships, Davina has been involved in other public interest work. As a student at the University of Minnesota Law School, she did an externship with a nonprofit called Gender Justice that promotes gender equality. She also served as a student attorney for the University of Minnesota’s Innocence Project clinic where she investigated claims of innocence from incarcerated individuals. During her 2L year, she was nominated for best brief and best oral argument for the University of Minnesota’s Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Moot Court Maynard Pirsig Competition. As a 3L, she is a visiting student at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and is serving on the board of Northwestern’s ACLU of Illinois student organization.

“My PILI experience allowed me to get a preview of the kind of work I have long aspired to do as a career, and affirmed my desire to work in the public interest sector,” said Davina. “I truly enjoyed the legal research I performed and learning how to analyze complex legal issues and develop creative arguments in developing areas of law.”

Davina attended many of PILI’s summer educational seminars on topics such as vicarious trauma, developing legal writing skills and understanding implicit bias. She says these programs helped her develop career skills and knowledge about public interest law to better help her increase equal access to justice. “Justice means access and equality for all,” said Davina.

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