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Summer in the City, Public Interest Style

Summertime means BBQs, ice cream and lots of time hanging by the pool. But if you are a law student interested in public interest litigation, it could mean a weekend learning how to be the most effective advocate for liberty at IJ and beyond. This summer, we have 29 clerks and interns working across IJ’s six litigation offices, and at the beginning of June, they made the trek (or walked down the street if they are clerking at IJ’s headquarters) to our annual public interest boot camp in Arlington, Va.

Liberty & Law readers have read previously about this conference, but this year we did things a little differently. We held the conference at the beginning of the summer to teach our clerks about IJ’s legal theories and the practical skills they would need during the summer. This is in keeping with IJ’s tradition of training the next generation of freedom fighters to be effective advocates for liberty. For example, Senior Attorney Jeff Rowes led a session on the methods IJ attorneys use to perform effective legal research and write strong, clear memos that help build our cases. Clerks also heard presentations on IJ’s pillars, the Center for Judicial Engagement and our strategic research department. Finally, they participated in media relations workshops with the communications team to hone their messaging in the court of public opinion.

Of course, as in every year, the most popular session was the client panel. This year we heard how, if not for IJ, civil forfeiture would have bankrupted Jeff Hirsch’s Long Island-based business; how the Indiana school choice victory helped Heather Coffy give her kids a better education; and how Nashville’s minimum-fare law nearly shut down Ali Bokhari’s limo and sedan service. Being able to hear directly from our clients about the real-world impact IJ is making left everyone inspired.

Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia brought the conference to a close with a keynote address about the proper role of judges and provided valuable advice on how to successfully apply for those sought-after judicial clerkships.

Our annual public interest boot camp continues to be a source of inspiration and energy for IJ’s clerks and staff alike.

Claire Healey is IJ’s student programs and events assistant.

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