SWLAW Blog | Future Students

2023 PILC Grant Recipients Collage Working in Government Part Two

September 29, 2023

Meet our 2023 PILC Grant Recipients Working in Government – Part Two

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 second group of 2023 PILC Grant recipients working in Government:

Sydney Mathis Summer Clerk for: Los Angeles County Counsel

Sydney Mathis

Summer Placement: Los Angeles County Counsel

I am passionate about public interest/public service work because there are so many different avenues that you can take to help people. I enjoyed working on a variety of different topics from overtime for firefighters to human trafficking to the public records act. It was not the same every single day, and there were so many different departments that you could work on any type of law you want. I am not sure yet how I plan to incorporate public interest or pro bono practice into my legal career.

Katherine Koeller Summer Clerk for: Massachusetts Attorney General's Office

Katherine Koeller

Summer Placement: Massachusetts Attorney General's Office 

As a legal intern at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, I worked on research and drafting as well as policy initiatives. My research assignments included case law research to answer legal questions, legislative history research to determine the intent and purpose of a statute, as well as policy-based research for a Supreme Court amicus brief. Additionally, I had the opportunity to draft research Memorandums as well as Memorandums of Law for various types of motions.

In addition to the interesting and engaging assignments, my summer at the Attorney General’s Office also provided the opportunity for mentorship and the exploration of policy work. For one of my larger research assignments, I worked with a former Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court who guided me through the process of legislative history research in Massachusetts. Additionally, I also had the opportunity to work on research for an amicus brief that will be submitted to the Supreme Court next term.

Sierra Gonzales Summer Clerk for: Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office

Sierra Gonzales

Summer Placement: Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office

One of the highlights of this summer was the opportunity I had to speak with the victims and witnesses involved in our cases. My fellow law clerk and I particularly connected with one brave young woman. She had been the victim of an armed robbery while on her way home from work. She arrived in court and was incredibly afraid to testify during the preliminary hearing, and she was very confused by the court process generally. My friend and I sat down with her and explained to her how her case would proceed. But most importantly, we gave her an opportunity to speak and we listened. Afterwards, she shared that she felt so much better and more prepared to go forward with the case, but more importantly, with her life. Speaking with her really struck a nerve because she is only a few years younger than me and it reminded me how fragile life can be in the sense that anyone can become a victim of a crime. However, speaking with her affirmed my desire to be an advocate for those who find themselves in that position and need support.

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 2024 PILC Summer Grant Program is March 4, 2024. Awards up to $5,000. Email publicservice@swlaw.edu for more information.