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NYCLA’s 2007 Summer Minority Judicial Internship Program
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 24, 2007 – The New York County Lawyers’ Association’s (NYCLA) Summer Minority Judicial Internship Program, established by NYCLA Past President Hon. Harold Baer Jr. and his wife, Dr. Suzanne Baer, just completed its 19th year. The program, testament to NYCLA’s leadership role in seeking to promote equal opportunity throughout the legal profession, gives minority law students the unique opportunity to complement their law school career with a paid summer judicial internships. Since its inception more than 150 law students of color have participated in the program.
The five interns in the 2007 program were first- and second-year law students from the City University of New York School of Law, New York Law School and St. John’s University School of Law. Each was assigned to a state or federal judge and performed legal research, drafted memoranda, assisted with the preparation of jury instructions and observed court proceedings. Participating judges served as mentors and insured that each intern completed at least one comprehensive research and writing assignment. Every intern was also assigned a mentor from among the members of the Minorities and the Law Committee, which administers the program. The 2007 interns are profiled below.
Sharon Hana Choi
Sharon Hana Choi interned with New York Supreme Court Justice Richard Lowe III. For Ms. Choi, “The most amazing part of the summer was that… [it] gave me real-life experience.”
Ms. Choi is entering her second year at St. John’s University School of Law, where she is a member of the Asian American Law Students Association. She graduated magna cum laude from Binghamton University, where she majored in English Literature and was a member of various honor societies.
Antoinette Kemp interned with New York Supreme Court Justice Charles Tejada. She worked closely with him and his law clerk in drafting memos on both civil and criminal issues, and helped prepare judicial opinions. She said the experience improved her research and writing skills and gave her an opportunity to see how a judge views the law.
Ms. Kemp is entering her third year at New York Law School. She previously attended the University of the District of Columbia School of Law. Ms. Kemp received her BA in Criminal Justice from St. John’s University, where she was treasurer of Alpha Phi Sigma, the Criminal Justice Honor Society. She has completed internships at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia in Washington, DC and the Queens County District Attorney’s Office.
Paul Nichols interned with Federal Southern District Court Judge Deborah Batts. He is entering his third year at New York Law School, where he serves as Student Bar Association Senator. He graduated summa cum laude from John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a BA in Government and a minor in English. In the summer of 2006, Mr. Nichols worked as a summer associate at Pitney Hardin LLP (now Day Pitney LLP) where one of his assignments led him to lay the groundwork to obtain approval from a publisher for a nonprofit group to redistribute copyrighted materials in a format accessible to the disabled. Previously, Mr. Nichols worked as a legislative intern for U.S. Congressman Major Owens.
Vanessa Pairis interned with Federal Southern District Court Judge Robert Patterson. For Ms. Pairis, the internship helped her decide that she wants to specialize in litigation.
Ms. Pairis is entering her third year at St. John’s University School of Law. She received her BA in Political Science from Tufts University and served as the student outreach coordinator for the Admissions Office. At the 2006 Reverend Joseph T Tinnelly Moot Court Competition, Ms. Pairis was awarded Second Best Oralist honors and was chosen to compete in the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition. In the summer of 2006, Ms. Pairis interned with Legal Information for Families Today, assisting litigants in the Family Court in Queens. Most recently, she completed an externship at the Harlem-based Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (G.E.M.S.), an alternative-to-incarceration program for young girls prosecuted for prostitution.
Dexterrie Ramirez interned with New York Supreme Court Justice Lottie Wilkins. Her responsibilities included writing verdict sheets, jury charges and a draft opinion for the judge. Ms. Ramirez explained that through her experiences, she “was able to see judgments and opinions from both sides of the spectrum, an experience that was invaluable in learning how to become a good lawyer.”
Ms. Ramirez is entering her second year at CUNY School of Law. She has a BS in Psychobiology from the University of California in Los Angeles and an MA in Educational Psychology from New York University. Fluent in Tagalog (Filipino), Ms. Ramirez has worked in for such institutions as New York University and Columbia University. Most recently, she worked as director of development for a Bronx school, which was awarded five grant proposals totaling $171,000 towards curriculum-enhancement programs and capital repairs, as a result of her efforts.
The New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) is celebrating its Centennial year, which commenced in April 2007 and ends in December 2008. NYCLA (www.nycla.org) was founded in April 1908 as the first major bar association in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual identity. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.
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