Association of Public Interest Law

Past APIL Fellowship Recipients

2011

Britt Baca-Miller (Class of 2013)
Pegasus Legal Services for Children

Brianne Bigej (Class of 2012)
Office of General Counsel for the Inter-American Foundation (Washington, DC)

Barbara Ferry (Class of 2012) – Craig Othmer Fellow
Santa Fe Public Defender's Office

Ernest Herrera (Class of 2012)
Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid

LeeAnne Kane (Class of 2013)
New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty

Amanda Lavin (Class of 2013)
New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty

Tyler McCormick (Class of 2013)
Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division for Disability Rights (Washington, DC).

Rebecca Mnuk (Class of 2013)
United South Broadway Corporation

Kevin Nault (Class of 2012)
Federal Public Defender's Office

Quiana Aurelia Salazar-King (Class of 2013)
New Mexico Attorney General's Office, Division of Consumer Protection

Jonathan Turner (Class of 2012)
Senior Citizens' Law Office

2010

Emily Luke (Class of 2011)
Department of the Interior:  Office of the Solicitor for the Southwest Region
Because of her interest in Indian Law, Emily was excited to be offered this competitive federal clerkship.  While at the Solicitor’s Office, she got to see how the government deals with legal issues involving tribes.  She stated that while “so much of learning about Indian Law in school has involved feeling frustrated by the condescending attitudes of the U.S. Government.  I braced myself to meet the ‘other side’, but what I found was more surprising than I had expected. I met attorneys who were sensitive to tribal struggles, aware of the unsavory legal history of Indian law, and focused on making tribes more healthy.”  Her duties included researching topics of Indian Law, federal Tort Law, and questions regarding the Freedom of Information Act.  She wrote two administrative adjudications and participated in seminars and research learning opportunities available to federal interns from across the country.  In addition, she accompanied attorneys when they visited clients in Santa Fe, and when they attended a conference for Bureau of Land Management employees. Most importantly, she got to learn a huge amount about what kind of work federal attorneys do.

Kenneth Casares Owens (Class of 2012)
New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty
Kenneth worked with a staff attorney to address accessibility to public benefits by low-income New Mexicans.  As part of his fellowship, Kenneth went to a food bank, met with needy clients, and helped them with their applications for food stamps.  Through that work, some systemic problems in accessing “emergency” food stamps were identified and Kenneth was invited by the State Human Services Secretary to meet with her staff to address those concerns.  Through a series of meetings, Kenneth was able to propose some changes to the state guidelines which will help thousands of New Mexicans receive more timely access to food security.

Sara Blankenhorn (Class of 2011)
Second Judicial District District Attorney’s Office, Felony Domestic Violence Division
Sara first became interested in domestic violence issues while interning at New Mexico Legal Aid during the summer of 2009.  She describes her experience this past summer as both intense and rewarding.  Her experience included attending trials, researching, drafting, interviewing witnesses and working on plea offers.  She also helped plan a symposium on domestic violence, held in memory of the domestic violence murder of a UNM student and professor last year.  Sara hopes to become a criminal defense attorney, but says her fellowship exposed her to some of the nuances of prosecution that don’t exist in defense—such as prosecutorial discretion and working closely with victims.  Her summer work also allowed her to learn more about the rules of criminal procedure and trial work. 

Amber Fayerberg (Class of 2012)
New Mexico Environment Department, Office of General Counsel
During her summer clerkship, Amber researched and wrote memos on topics ranging from contaminated construction sites to sovereign immunity and punitive fines for noncompliance with environmental regulations.  Her supervising attorney went out of her way to ensure she had a variety of projects to work on and that she was exposed to every end of the process.  Amber attended a New Mexico Supreme Court oral argument, a mediation, witness prep for a hearing, and several regulation hearings.  Amber feels that she learned a lot about the regulatory and environmental protection process and that her future goal of working for a non-profit organization representing environmental interests will be greatly enhanced by the knowledge she gained this summer.

Kate Loewe (Class of 2011)
Pegasus Legal Services for Children
Pegasus Legal Services for Children is a non-profit agency that provides civil legal services for children, youth and their caregivers. This includes direct representation, community legal education, and policy advocacy.  Kate is interested in disability civil rights law and youth advocacy, both of which are central to Pegasus’ mission and work.  Kate’s work consisted of providing support for one attorney, helping her to prepare for a special education hearing in which her client sought free and appropriate education.  Kate stated that she learned so much about the barriers youth with disabilities encounter in getting access to education, and also how much intensive work goes into preparing for a hearing.  She also stated that Pegasus is an amazing organization that does such amazing work with attention to the big picture of justice and legal access for New Mexico’s youth, while attending with great care to the particular needs of their individual clients.  Kate said it was an honor to learn from the Pegasus team and support their work.

Catherine Price (Class of 2012)
New Mexico Legal Aid
Catherine primarily did legal research for New Mexico Legal Aid.  Part of her research consisted of specific legal issues raised by current or potential clients.  She also participated in doing research on broader policy issues, such as how the adoption of the Model Administrative Procedures Act would alter the legal landscape in New Mexico.  Finally, Catherine created a legal reference manual about public housing law.  This manual will enable Legal Aid paralegals and attorneys more quickly research client issues pertaining to public housing.  She feels that her fellowship not only provided her with an opportunity to learn about poverty law, but also allowed her to contribute to the mission of Legal Aid—meeting the legal needs of those who would otherwise go without representation.

Leo Martinez (Class of 2012)
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Leo did legal research for EEOC attorneys on issues ranging from ethics to civil procedure.  In addition, he worked with an administrative law judge—researching issues raised in motions, and even drafting a decision.  Leo also attended depositions, hearings and mediations.  Leo is grateful for the research skills he learned, and hopes to continue volunteering for the EEOC.  At the conclusion of his fellowship, he stated that his “interest in government work has never been more piqued or seemed as reachable.”  He now plans to focus his law school studies on classes which focus on governmental law.  Leo stated that his fellowship “provided me key practical experience in dealing with thorny ethical issues, sorting out tangled facts, and voicing my opinion. It reminded me that   lawyers live in a world of legalese and face people in legal situations, but the parties themselves, the ones who matter the most, live in a real world where our opinions have much more far-reaching consequences than some of us realize or even want to realize. In our realm of law and facts, we cannot lose sight of people just like us who not only maintain our own livelihoods but whose livelihoods depend on our knowledge.”

Jasmine McGee (Class of 2011)
New Mexico Immigrant Law Center/Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services
Jasmine assisted in the creation and launch of the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center.  She worked full-time on a wide array of immigration cases, from cancellation of removal, to family based petitions, to Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) petitions, and U visas.  She also conducted client intake and did research on acquired citizenship claims, removal of conditions for conditional residents, and adjustment of status for K-2 visa holders. During the summer of 2010, the center was a resource for many families whose relatives were arrested and subsequently detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), due to Albuquerque’s agreement to allow ICE to screen all prisoners’ immigration status.

Tess Wilkes (Class of 2012)
Colorado Legal Services, Migrant Farm Worker Division
After receiving three days of training, and armed with a binder of laws and regulations governing farm workers in Colorado, Tess began “in the field” work.  She did outreach in the evenings in worker homes and labor camps.  After gaining the workers’ trust, the workers began to ask her about their basic rights.  Tess learned to listen carefully to the remedy sought, so as not to offer her clients false hope.  During the days, Tess did legal research for the office in Denver.  She also had the opportunity to learn from the attorneys in her field office.  She enjoyed using her Spanish, “being outside in the long summer evenings, and the perks that the job allowed, like being invited to a mass in Spanish with a Guatemalan priest, gifts of tamales, and being inspired by the positive attitude and hard work of the people who pick our food.”

2009

Ethan Watson (Class of 2011)
U.S. House of Representatives and The Inter-American Foundation
Ethan used his APIL fellowship money to help support himself while he worked as a law clerk in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as at the Inter-American Foundation in Washington, D.C..  While at the House of Representatives, Ethan worked on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and conducted research on the closure of Guantanamo.  While at the Inter-American Foundation, he analyzed the agency's operations in Honduras.  The APIL fellowship helped defray the cost of traveling to and living in D.C..

Sara Blankenhorn (Class of 2011)
New Mexico Legal Aid
Sara spent her summer at the Albuquerque office of New Mexico Legal Aid where she was exposed to domestic violence cases, landlord-tenant law, public benefits issues, and consumer protection issues.  Sara conducted client intake interviews, attended hearings and trials, conducted legal research, and drafted legal documents.  She expanded her knowledge of future career possibilities in public interest law through her attendance of the annual statewide Civil Legal Services Provider CLE.  Through her experiences at Legal Aid, Sara learned that she is very interested in consumer protection work.

Kate Loewe (Class of 2011)
Law Office of Peter Cubra
Kate worked on class action suits on behalf of securing the constitutional rights of incarcerated individuals.  She also worked on securing the rights of incarcerated juveniles in youth detention facilities.  Kate spent her time researching, drafting motions, working with discovery materials, and meeting with clients.  Her summer experience cemented her commitment to public interest work and civil rights litigation. 

Ryland Hutchins (Class of 2010)
Nature Conservancy's Living Rivers Program
Ryland worked for the Living Rivers Program, which is devoted to acquiring and protecting free-flowing natural rivers.  Ryland spent his summer doing extensive research on the decades of legal history behind the Gila river watershed and the laws that have governed water use on the Gila.  Ryland did not spend all his summer behind a computer screen doing legal research.  He also had the opportunity to visit river restoration projects and visit the Nature Conservancy's private farm in the Cliff-Gila Valley.

Julia Catron (Class of 2010)
New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty
Julia worked at the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.  The Center works toward systemic improvement of the policies, laws, and practices that affect those living in poverty in New Mexico.  She did legal research on issues ranging from workers' compensation in New Mexico, to issues involving the rights of individuals to receive certain public benefits.  Julia traveled southwest of Albuquerque to Pajarito Mesa to research the legal needs and issues faced by residents of that community, as part of the Center's "colonias" project.  She also had the opportunity to accompany clients to Income Support Division offices as an advocate.