Martin Luther King, Jr. Internship & Fellowship Program

2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Summer Interns

2021 MLK Interns
Top Row, Left to Right: Nicole Bennett, Penn State Law-Legal Aid of SE PA; Sharai Bryan, Penn State Law-PA Health Law Project; Malisa Dang, Penn State Dickinson Law-PA Utility Law Project; Gobrielle Francis, Widener Commonwealth Law-Justice at Work; Kayla Gonzalez, Widener Commonwealth Law-Northwestern Legal Services
Bottom Row, Left to Right: Brittany Griffin, Widener Commonwealth Law-Regional Housing Legal Services ; Madelyn Snyder, Penn State Dickinson Law-Community Justice Project; Gabrielle Tock, Penn State Law-MidPenn Legal Services; Cooper Townsend, Villanova Law-North Penn Legal Services; Octavia Williams, Pitt Law-Southwestern PA Legal Services

2021 Martin Luther King, Jr.
Internship Program Reception

A Virtual Recognition Reception honoring the participants in the 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Summer Internship Program was hosted by Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. on July 28, 2021.

The reception was organized and moderated by Arlene Marshall-Hockensmith, PLAN's Administrative Officer. Opening Remarks were presented by The Honorable Kim Berkeley Clark, President Judge, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and President of the PLAN Board of Directors. The Featured Speaker was The Honorable Joanna McClinton, Pennsylvania House Democratic Leader, 191st Legislative District.

Each intern also offered excerpts from their essays appearing in the Drum Major collection and intern Gobrielle Francis offered remarks on behalf of the entire class reflecting on the classes' summer of service. Patrick M. Cicero, Esq., Executive Director of PLAN, Inc. also offered some Themes and Observations about this years class and the MLK Internship Program.



Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellowship Program

In 2003, an evaluation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Summer Internship Program revealed that while the internship experience has been a very positive one for PLAN, students, clients and programs; the goal to enhance cultural and ethnic diversity within the programs was not being realized.

In response, PLAN created the Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship program in 2004. In partnership with a sponsoring regional or specialty program, law school graduates and attorneys who are new to practice are hired as full-time staff attorneys for a two-year fellowship.

Fellows are assigned mentors and supervised by experienced attorneys. Salary and benefits are determined by the host program.

In addition, loan repayment assistance up to $11,000 is available during the first two years of employment.

PLAN hired the first MLK Fellows in fall of 2004.

The MLK Fellowship is not a two year limited employment program. It is intended to support and promote new lawyers who are interested in a long term public interest career.

Third year and recent law school graduates may indicate their interest in the MLK Fellowship program by sending a letter expressing interest; a resume; a writing sample; an official transcript; and three (3) references to:

MLK Fellowship
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network
118 Locust Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Martin Luther King, Jr. Summer Internship Program

Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Summer Internships are available at Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during the summer months for law students who are social justice oriented and desire an opportunity to make a difference.

The MLK Internship is an integral part of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network goal to initiate new lawyers to the lifelong commitment of providing access to justice for all individuals regardless of their ability to pay.

Students engage in unique situations through which one might better understand the special legal issues facing individuals who live in poverty and low-income communities. In turn, the summer interns provide valuable and necessary service to the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network program offices in which they are placed.

Law students experience the real world of legal aid advocacy. PLAN seeks opportunities for MLK Interns to experience direct client contact, participate in court hearings (for those certified), administrative hearings, legal research and writing on actual cases under the supervision of seasoned legal aid attorneys.

Interns are challenged to put classroom training and talent to work on behalf of the many needy individuals the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network serves, and to work creatively to reduce the barriers to a more just society. Each MLK intern is treated as a valuable member of the legal staff and is expected to participate in case strategy and contribute to overall case management.

Each summer, the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network awards 10 paid internships to current law students to participate in legal services work over the traditional 10-week summer internship period.

History: The Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Internship Program was established in 1991 to encourage and support a diversity of attorneys to work in the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network programs across the commonwealth. The goal is to promote cultural and ethnic diversity in legal services and to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since its inception, which was prompted by the Pennsylvania Legal Services Black Caucus, over 260 law students have participated in the program.

A current law student (1L or 2L) may indicate their interest in serving as a MLK summer intern by sending a letter (expressing interest and preferences); a resume; a transcript (official or unofficial); and three (3) references to:

MLK Summer Internship
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network
118 Locust Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101

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