SWLAW Blog | Future Students

2022 PILC Summer Grant Recipients - Government Part Three collage of Natalie Diaz, Katelyn Marshall, Hannah Nava-Holstein, and Hugo Stern headshots

October 7, 2022

Meet our 2022 PILC Grant Recipients Working in Government — Part Three

Southwestern's Public Interest Law Committee (PILC) is a student-run organization that sponsors several events each year to raise student awareness and involvement in providing legal services for underrepresented communities and is dedicated to facilitating public interest law careers by supporting students in public interest work through fundraising efforts for the school's Public Interest Law Summer Grant Program.

We want to recognize these students and their incredible work with their Public Interest Law Committee Summer Grant. Meet our 2022 PILC Grant recipients working in Government Part Three:

Natalie Diaz - Summer Clerk for Riverside County Public Defender's Office

Natalie Diaz

Summer Placement: Riverside County Public Defender's Office

My interest in public service stems from my life experiences and desire to serve the community. Due to my stepfather's life choices, I spent my childhood surrounded by gang violence. When I was five years old, I witnessed my stepfather pass away in front of me during a drive-by shooting. My family was not wealthy, feared gang retaliation, and was unaware of resources that were available to us, so my stepfather's killers were never found. At a young age, I knew I wanted to help others because although I felt like my family did not attain justice from the court system, I wanted to be a beacon of light to others in similar situations. I plan to incorporate public interest into my legal career by serving those within the community by being someone that they can trust and voice their concerns to in order to help resolve conflicts. I also plan to work at the Public Defender's office upon graduation and passing the bar. I believe that helping the community starts with helping to direct individuals who are in need of rehabilitation and mental health services into programs instead of imprisoning them.

Katelyn Marshall - Summer Clerk for Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

Katelyn Marshall

Summer Placement: Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

For the first half of summer, I was placed in the felony arraignment courts at the Airport courthouse. There I interviewed clients prior to their felony arraignment and was able to conduct arraignments on the record as a certified law clerk. I also had the opportunity to assist with misdemeanor trials, draft a memorandum regarding changing gun laws in California, and draft several Judicial Diversion Motions. During the second half of summer, I was assigned to the Realignment Unit, which is entirely devoted to people who are accused of violating their Parole, Probation, or Post Release Community Supervision. There I have been able to interview clients, conduct arraignments, and draft a motion to suppress.

I am passionate about public interest work because I believe all people have intrinsic value, and legal counsel should not be reserved only for those who can pay for it. I want to be a public defender when I graduate so that I can spend every day providing people with quality legal help regardless of their background. I believe that our career can reflect the person that we want to be, and I can think of no greater way to live my life than waking up everyone morning to serve the community.

Hannah Nava-Holstein Summer Clerk for Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

Hannah Nava-Holstein

Summer Placement: Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

I am passionate about public interest because I want to help fight against systemic barriers for people in marginalized communities. There are inequities in how the law is applied and who has access to it, and I want to make sure people who are ignored in society have access to the law. In addition, my family and I have benefited from public service work, and I want to help others who are similarly situated. I plan to become a public defender and advocate for the needs of marginalized communities.

Hugo Stern Summer Clerk for Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

Hugo Stern

Summer Placement: Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

I assisted the attorneys with drafting motions, doing research on case law, reviewing old cases to see if clients are eligible for resentencing under new laws, and interviewing clients before their arraignment hearings. 

My favorite memory from this summer was when I went with the Public Defender office to the Juneteenth festival at Magic Johnson Park to offer walk-in expungement appointments at our booth. I greeted every festival-goer and answered their questions to see if they were eligible to apply. I got to see the look of joy and relief on their faces as I helped them through the process and knew that this was going to help them the next time they applied for jobs or housing, and hopefully, we helped make their lives a little easier.

About the PILC Summer Grant Program

Southwestern's PILC Summer Grant program was established in 1990 with the mission of providing financial support to selected recipients seeking full-time summer clerkships with legal services organizations providing no-cost assistance to underserved, marginalized communities. This program makes it possible for students to acquire the legal training and education necessary to address the lack of access to legal services for indigent communities while also alleviating Southwestern students' financial burden of acquiring more educational loans in order to do so.

PILC sincerely thanks our donors and supporters for your invaluable contributions to this program benefiting Southwestern students. PILC's mission is to help create a community where Southwestern students, staff, faculty, and alumni are educated and incentivized to participate in issues concerning and advancing the public interest, and it is your support of this mission that is vital in helping us reach our fundraising goals each year. 

The student deadline to apply to the 2023 PILC Summer Grant Program is March 6, 2023. Awards up to $5,000. Email publicservice@swlaw.edu for more information.