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Dean Yelnosky's picture

Michael J. Yelnosky became the dean of Roger Williams University School of Law on July 1, 2014.

Dean Yelnosky is a founding member of the RWU Law faculty. He served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for four years, and he was named Distinguished Service Professor in 2011. He has also...

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What I Did Last Summer... (Meaningful Summer Jobs)

Posted by Michael Yelnosky on 11/17/2014 at 09:33 AM

As the shortest day of the year approaches, it can be uplifting to recall the long, bright days of summer. Just months ago, across practice settings and across the country, many of our students used the summer months to gain valuable experience, make connections, and experiment – to look for that space in the vast network of legal careers that will provide them professional and personal satisfaction.

Here, three of our students share their experiences from the past summer:


Women’s Law Project (Pittsburgh, PA)

“This summer I had the opportunity to intern at the Women’s Law Project (“WLP”), located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The WLP is a nonprofit organization that strives to eliminate gender discrimination, while protecting and advancing the rights of women and LGBT persons through impact litigation, policy advocacy, and education.

During my time at the WLP, I worked on a variety of projects intended to ensure women’s access to reproductive health services. In one instance, I helped craft a strategy to prevent the Pennsylvania legislature from passing a law that would have made abortion services more difficult for women to access. Another interesting project was analyzing the constitutionality of a buffer zone ordinance, requiring protesters to maintain a certain distance from women entering facilities where abortions are performed, in light of a United States Supreme Court decision that came down after I arrived at the WLP.

In addition to gaining substantive knowledge, I further developed my legal research and writing skills, and was energized by experiencing the ways in which the law can be used to help create a more just and equitable society. The stipend I was awarded by RWU Law helped fund one of the most fulfilling summers of my life. I look forward to applying the lessons I learned over the summer throughout the course of my 2L year and future legal career.”



Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles

“For many law students, completing the 1L year brings excitement, but also uncertainty about attaining a summer internship. Thanks to the encouragement of our Office of Career Development, I was able to attend the NYU Public Interest Career Fair, where I interviewed with (and was ultimately selected by) the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles.

For approximately eleven weeks, I gained practical experience working with counsel for minors at the Edmund E. Edelman Children’s Court, which is a juvenile division of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Additionally, I worked on legislative policy research addressing the commercial sexual exploitation of children. I shadowed attorneys in court, completed client interviews, helped prepare cases, appeared in drug court, Indian Children Welfare Act court, and delinquency court proceedings. I also visited residential care facilities.

It was truly a humbling internship experience that reminded me to follow my interests and law school ambitions. Without the summer stipend I received from RWU Law, this California legal experience would not have been possible.”



Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West LLC (Providence, RI)

“This past summer, I was a summer associate in the litigation department at Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West (PLDW) in Providence. Thanks to PLDW’s sizeable litigation department, I had the opportunity to work in many diverse areas of law, including torts, probate, employment, contracts, and commercial sales.

My assignments often involved researching a specific issue and then drafting a corresponding pleading or memorandum. As a result, my research and writing skills dramatically improved. But learning the “ins and outs” of a multi-departmental law firm was perhaps my biggest gain from working at PLDW. I worked closely with both partners and associates, billed hours, and attended litigation and client meetings. I now have a completely different perspective on the legal profession. I read cases through a practical lens and often consider tactical strategies in a new light.

My experiences in the classroom at RWU Law have been full of practical discussion; however, discussion can only go so far. While working at PLDW, I witnessed cases, concepts, and doctrines lift off the page and come to life. My experiences at PLDW will have a long-lasting, positive impact on my legal career.”