MACON – Twenty-six students at Mercer University School of Law received stipends for working in governmental or nonprofit positions this summer.
The stipends, which total $88,996, are funded by a combination of endowment income, expendable gifts made for this purpose, and a grant from the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council. The Law School’s public interest committee selected the recipients out of dozens of applicants.
“This is an extraordinary show of support for investing in students interested in careers that serve the public good,” said Professor Timothy Floyd, Tommy Malone Distinguished Chair in Trial Advocacy and Director of Experiential Education. “These 26 students will receive enormous benefits from these summer internships in attaining practical legal skills, in assisting legal offices that serve the public and in determining whether they wish to pursue long-term careers in areas of public service.”
The summer stipends are critical for students pursuing public service internships because public interest offices often do not have funds to pay summer interns. For the last several years, Mercer Law School has been committed to providing such stipends so that students can pursue this work without being financially burdened.
Student internships this summer include: 10 students working at various public defender’s offices across Georgia; eight students working within district attorney’s offices; and two students working with solicitors. Additionally, two students are assisting judges, and four students are either in governmental or nonprofit positions.
“Mercer was very gracious to provide students with a stipend to aid in offsetting costs while working within the field of public interest. My desire to work in public interest stems from my passion for service. The basis of the legal profession was built on public servants being a voice for the individuals who feel that they do not have a voice in the legal arena. I want to put my legal knowledge to use in a manner that positively aids my surrounding community. The opportunity to apply for this stipend was highly advertised by Mercer, and the application process was straightforward,” said Jordan T. Brown, a rising second-year student, from Conyers .
“Although the majority of internships within the public sector are unpaid, the exposure to the practice of law and hands-on experiences gained are enormous and beneficial to law students. Upon receiving the stipend, I have been able to focus my full attention on my two internships without the need to take on a nonlegal job to obtain a summer income.”
Brown is working part of the summer at the Rockdale County District Attorney’s Office and part with Bibb County Superior Court Judge Verda Colvin.
“I am very thankful for this opportunity to receive this stipend. Through my internships within the public sector, my desire to become an attorney has been affirmed, and I have developed skills that I can apply both inside the classroom and to future internship opportunities,” said Brown.
Mercer Law School has a long history of producing outstanding attorneys who choose public service and distinguish themselves in that service. The School’s curriculum offers various public service opportunities.
Throughout the academic year, Mercer Law students participate in experiential education through the School’s highly regarded Law and Public Service Program. Students work on real cases and gain the practical skills they need once they graduate. The practicum, or externship, course options include judicial field placement, where students clerk for judges, research, write and attend hearings, trials and other proceedings, and the Public Defender Clinic, where students work under the supervision of local public defenders on behalf of indigent individuals charged with felonies.
Mercer Law School also has a well-known in-house Habeas Clinic that provides pro bono representation in noncapital state post-conviction matters. Students address cutting-edge questions of constitutional criminal law on their clients’ behalf, prepare and file briefs and provide counsel to prisoners in the Georgia penal system.