Emory Report
July 9, 2007
Volume 59, Number 34

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July 9, 2007
Law students awarded grants to serve public

by Liz Chilla

Twenty-seven Emory law students have the opportunity to work in public interest jobs this summer due to generous donations to the Emory Public Interest Committee Summer Grant Program.

EPIC, a student-run organization at Emory Law, awards grants to law students who accept volunteer positions in the field of public interest law. This summer, grant recipients are working at a variety of non-profit and government agencies in Atlanta and across the country, including Georgia Lawyers for the Arts, the Latin American Association, the National Wildlife Federation and the Institute for Justice.

“We know that Emory is becoming a leader in the study of public interest law because the quality of applicants increases every year,” said Brad Drummond, EPIC president and rising third-year student at Emory Law. “The 2007 summer grant recipients are no exception — they have demonstrated serious dedication to serving the public within Atlanta and throughout the world.”

The grants fund 10 weeks of full-time work and allow students to put their law school knowledge and skills into practice.

“I knew when I started law school that I wanted to work in public interest law – it was just a matter of what kind,” said Anna Kurien, a rising third-year law student currently working at the DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office, which provides legal counsel to indigent clients. “I’m proud to use my law school education to represent clients who may not be able to afford a good defense attorney otherwise.” This is Kurien’s second year interning at the DeKalb Public Defender’s office, both times through the EPIC Summer Grant Program.

The goal of EPIC is to promote awareness and understanding of public interest law in the law school, and to make public interest jobs more accessible to Emory law students by assisting with employment and supporting public service programs.

“The EPIC Summer Grant Program was a major attraction to Emory Law for me,” said Jared Welsh, who is interning at Georgia Lawyers for the Arts. “I enjoy public interest law because the work is meaningful, the people are interesting and committed, and the opportunities to have a real effect on people’s lives are many.
I only wish that the support for programs like these was greater.”

During the 2006-07 academic year, EPIC raised more than $124,000 toward its summer grants program through events like the Inspiration Awards, which honor outstanding legal practitioners for their commitment to public service. The Inspiration Awards are EPIC’s largest fundraising initiative each year with all proceeds supporting student grants. The organization also raised an additional $24,000 for the EPIC Endowment Fund, which contributes to the overall future of the program at Emory.