MPILP auction goes online to support students in public interest summer internships

Awurama Agyei ’22  

The Maryland Public Interest Law Project (MPILP) at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law offers its annual goods and services auction online this year, April 4-11. The auction raises funds to provide grants so Maryland Carey Law students can spend their summers in unpaid public interest positions. Auction items include autographed Ravens memorabilia, boating and skydiving adventures, gift cards to local restaurants, and meals with popular professors. 

Last year, MPILP, in conjunction with Maryland Legal Service Corporation, provided a total of $135,000 in summer grants to 27 students who completed over 9,200 hours of public interest legal work.  

Awurama Agyei ’22 was one of those grantees. She spent the summer of 2020 getting legal experience in the Maryland Office of the Public Defender where she may have hit upon her future path. “I had the opportunity to work across a variety of cases that I didn’t even realize fell under the criminal justice system, says Agyeiand I even discovered a new area of criminal and immigration law that just might be my niche.” 

In its over 30-year history, MPILP has supported hundreds of students like Agyei doing summer internships at sites such as Disability Rights Maryland, the Catholic Charities of Baltimore Immigration Legal Services Esperanza Center, the Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionCapital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, and public defender offices throughout the state. 

An MPILP grant enabled Jennifer Frederick ’22 to help immigrants navigate life in a new country at the Esperanza Center. Frederick said it was gratifying “seeing the individual impact of my work and how it changed people’s day-to-day lives, adding, “Being able to apply what I had learned to help people after a year in the classroom was incredibly rewarding.” 

Teresa Schmiedeler is director of public service programs and outreach at Maryland Carey Law and supervises the MPILP students. “Part of why I love working at Maryland Carey Law is because of the school’s authentic commitment to public service—making a difference in our communities,” says Schmiedeler. The public interest students always inspire me. They truly want to use their legal skills to make this a better world.  

Because of the pandemic, the auction (which had to be canceled in 2020) will be online. Although organizers say they will miss enjoying the company of attendees in Westminster Hall, there are some benefits to a digital auction. MPILP will not charge the usual $40 entry fee, and online visitors will have the option of browsing and bidding for an entire week. Additionally, MPILP is hosting a free online event on April 9, featuring keynote speaker Danielle Torain ’10, director, Open Society Institute-Baltimore. All are welcome. Register for the event here:  

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