MPILP auction supports students in public interest summer internships

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The Maryland Public Interest Law Project (MPILP) at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law will host its popular goods and services auction on Friday, March 31, 6-9:30pm in Westminster Hall. The auction raises funds to provide grants so Maryland Carey Law students can spend their summers in unpaid public interest positions.  

Auction items include event tickets, gift cards to local restaurants, weekend adventures, and meals and other experiences with popular professors (plus karaoke with the Maryland Carey Law Dean Renée McDonald Hutchins!).  

Tickets are available at a $5 discount in advance or full price at the door. The evening will be a festive event with food, drinks, and raffles, including a sunset sail on the Inner Harbor with former dean, Professor Donald Tobin. Exclusive in-person auction items include a Spanish language course and personalized haikus by the Hon. Douglas Nazarian, Appellate Court of Maryland. 

Those who wish to can preview the items, services, and experiences and bid online. 

Last year, MPILP, in conjunction with Maryland Legal Service Corporation, administered a total of $135,750 in summer grants to 23 students who completed 9,050 hours of public interest legal work. 

Rebecca Wells ’24 is one of those grantees. She interned at the Center for Water Security and Cooperation (CWSC) in Washington D.C., gaining valuable experience in both environmental and public health law. “I developed my writing skills, specifically writing to convey the power and purpose of law to a policy-oriented audience,” says Wells. “The CWSC works to make sure governments, both in the US and abroad, think about access and equity when they are structuring their water law. Without the grant, I would not have been able to accept this position and would not have grown as an advocate."   

The grants, reiterates Gus Glazov ’24, MPILP co-president, enable students to work in non-profit and public service organizations, opportunities that wouldn’t be options for them without support. "Without these grants, and without generous donors and supporters, those doors of opportunity would forever remain shut; unpaid legal work would remain unpaid,” says Glazov. “The work would not be done.” 

Since 1987, MPILP has supported hundreds of law students who would otherwise go without funding in exchange for invaluable legal experience at public interest organizations. Internship sites include Disability Rights Maryland, the Catholic Charities of Baltimore Immigration Legal Services Esperanza Center, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, and public defender offices throughout the state. 

“Thanks to the MPILP grant, I was able to work full time and focus all my energy on learning about post-conviction criminal issues and advocating for our clients,” says William Jacobs-Perez' 24, who spent last summer at Project 6, a small Baltimore non-profit serving currently incarcerated people in Maryland. “This was an invaluable experience that has only further motivated me to pursue a career as a public defender after graduation and would not have been possible without such a generous grant.” 

Teresa Schmiedeler is managing director of public service programs and outreach at Maryland Carey Law and advises 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.”