Public Interest Law Scholars: 2016-2017
the clough center for the study of constitutional democracy
Consistent with the Center’s mission to support students committed to service to others, the Clough Center provides grants to Boston College first and second-year law students for uncompensated public interest work during the summer. The 2016 Public Interest Law Scholar grants have been awarded to:
Alyssa Fixsen is a rising 2L at Boston College Law School. She grew up in Randolph Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Government. After internships in city, state, and federal political offices in Boston, she spent five years working as an analyst for the Department of Defense in Maryland. At the DoD, she gained a deep appreciation for both the powers and the limits of the Constitution. Tired of swampy Maryland summers, she returned to the Boston area to attend law school. At BC, Allie is the Vice President, External Relations for the Internet Law Society.
This summer, she will serve as a Legal Intern in the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. The Civil Division represents the federal government in civil cases, enforcing and defending the Constitution and federal laws. She will conduct legal research and draft memos, briefs, and motions to support litigation, experiencing firsthand how legal issues can impact people’s daily lives and how the government resolves issues and enforces regulations at the local level.
Allie is interested in continuing her career in the federal government after law school. She believes passionately in the government’s capacity and responsibility to help people, both directly and indirectly.
Patrick Gaudet is a rising third year law student at Boston College Law School. He was born in Concord, Massachusetts, but has lived in Colorado, Ohio, and Illinois before returning to New England for law school. Patrick attended the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, majoring in philosophy. He is spending his 2L summer working as a law clerk at the Library of Congress Office of the General Counsel in Washington, D.C.
Established in 1800, the Library of Congress is the United States’ first cultural institution and the largest library in the world. The Office of the General Counsel provides legal advice to the Librarian and the variety of service units within the Library on legal issues from copyright matters to employment disputes to contracts and procurement problems, as well as representing the Library in administrative and federal court litigation. As a legislative agency, the Library faces legal issues substantively different from those issues faced by executive agencies, which are already themselves essentially uncontemplated in constitutional law. As a summer law clerk, Patrick will assist the OGC staff with issues surrounding a wide variety of legal topics, and hopes to gain insight into the role of the Library, and agencies generally, in their function as the general vehicle of day-to-day governance.
Aside from the law, Patrick is interested in the philosophy punishment theory, particularly problems regarding proportionality and moral epistemology and its impact on justice. His senior thesis project at the College of Wooster was a discussion and defense of a theory of punishment based on the work of Warren Quinn, wherein punishment is justified as the product of a natural right to issue and enforce self-protective threats.
When he is not working or studying, Patrick enjoys playing cello, hiking, reading, and whitewater kayaking. Following graduation, he hopes to clerk for a federal judge before pursuing a legal career in federal government.
Sonja Marrett is a member of the Boston College Law School Class of 2017. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2012 with a degree in Political Science and International Studies and a minor in Environmental Law and Policy. After graduation, she worked for the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter as a campaign organizer for a successful Sierra Club endorsed State Representative campaign. In this position, she engaged with the community on relevant environmental issues. She also organized numerous community events educating the public about the State Representative’s environmental platform. Subsequently, she worked at a small real estate law firm in Chicago as a paralegal.
During her 1L summer, Sonja worked at the Boston chapter of the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) as a legal intern. CLF uses a multi-lateral approach to finding solutions to New England’s numerous environmental problems, utilizing the law, science, policy-making, and the market. Sonja worked on numerous Clean Water issues relating to ongoing litigation. She also researched, conducted studies, and wrote reports to support potential Massachusetts state legislation.
During her 2L summer, Sonja worked at the White House Office of Presidential Personnel as a legal intern, working on a variety of issues related to the Executive branch.
As a 3L at Boston College Law School, Sonja will participate in the Civil Litigation Clinic, providing legal services to the underserved. She hopes to use this experience to gain greater practical knowledge on serving as an advocate for low-income communities in the legal field. She will also serve as an Articles Editor for the Boston College Law Review.
Sonja hopes to use her experiences during law school to work in the cross-section between environmental law, policy, and human rights, providing access to justice for marginalized populations.
Leila Souhail is a rising 2L at Boston College Law School. She grew up in Woburn, Massachusetts and attended the College of the Holy Cross, graduating in 2015 with honors with a B.A. in Political Science and a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies. As an undergraduate, She interned at the Attorney General’s Office in the Municipal Law Unit during the school year. In that position, Leila analyzed the constitutionality of proposed town bylaws and worked directly with town representatives to learn more about the background of the proposed bylaws and why the town felt they needed to pass such legislation. She also organized and attended various community outreach programs to inform local residents about consumer protection and cyber security programs. It is in this internship where her interest in public sector work began. During the past two summers, she interned at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, P.C. in downtown Boston, MA. There, She witnessed big law for the first time and worked with multiple attorneys in the corporate, litigation, and labor and employment practice areas.
This summer, Leila will be interning with the Office of the State Senate Counsel in Boston, MA. The Office of the Senate Counsel performs the crucial “third-reading” of legislation before the Massachusetts State Senate finalizes it. The “third-reading” includes editing for clarity and analyzing for constitutionality and potential consequences of its passage. She will work directly with the Senate Counsel and staff members in drafting, analyzing, and editing proposed legislation and resolutions. Leila will research issues of federal and state constitutional and statutory law and assist in the legislative process through inking bill papers and reviewing parchment prior to final considerations. She will also have the unique opportunity to attend Senate debates and committee hearings in order to report findings to senior attorneys.
Leila hopes to use her experience at the Office of the State Senate Counsel, her knowledge in political science, and desire to work in the government to narrow her career goals as she continues her legal education. Leila is grateful for the opportunity the Clough Center has given her in allowing her to spend the summer further developing experience in public interest and government work.