Editor’s Note: Each summer Penn Law students hone their skills through a wide array of private and public sector internships across the country and around the world. Generous financial support and fellowships for international and public interest work enable students to pursue diverse assignments in the U.S. and abroad. This dispatch from Rick Mula L’15 is one in a series of firsthand accounts by Law School students about how their summer employment opportunities are preparing them for their legal careers. Mula, a third-year law student from Kingsport, Tennessee, is pursuing a career in legal advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.
This summer I am working at Lambda Legal’s National Headquarters in New York City. Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender (LGBT) people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. I am conducting legal research in support of ongoing litigation and public policy initiatives. It is an extraordinary opportunity to be able to work so closely with experts in this field.
My prior work experience prepared me well for Lambda Legal. I first entered the LGBT legal advocacy world last summer through a fellowship with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, where I engaged in public policy work. For a few weeks prior to my internship at Lambda Legal this summer, I interned with Judge Annette Rizzo on the Court of Common Pleas for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. This experience was the perfect introduction to the litigation-based work I am now doing at Lambda Legal.
Classes I took at Penn Law over the past two years have also prepared me for Lambda Legal. Many of the topics I have encountered even in the first couple weeks would be unfamiliar to me had I not taken Law & Sexuality with Professor Tobias Wolff, Constitution & the Family with Professor Dorothy Roberts, or Administrative Law with David Zaring.
All that I have learned in classes at Penn Law, at prior jobs, and at Lambda Legal will be of great value to me as I transition into an externship this fall with the Southern Poverty Law Center, working on their LGBTQ Rights Project in Montgomery, Alabama. I am delighted that Penn Law affords me the opportunity to receive class credit for this internship.
Importantly, I received partial funding for my summer internship through the Equal Justice Foundation. Additionally, I received work study funding through Penn Law.