2021 PILG Fellows

All proceeds from the Auction support the PILG Endowment Fund, which is managed by the University of Connecticut Foundation, Inc.  The PILG Endowment Fund directly supports the PILG Fellowships awarded to law students each year.  Below is a list of the students who received PILG Fellowships for the summer of 2021, including a few highlighted experiences:

Riley Breakell, CT Office of the Federal Public Defender

I interned with the Connecticut Office of the Federal Public Defender last summer. I can't overstate how formative it was for me to witness the great advocacy work FPDs are doing in our state. I was lucky to support creative arguments through various research memos, draft an early termination of supervised release motion, and observe numerous strategy discussions and hearings. The PILG fellowship allowed me to spend my free time volunteering with GHLA's eviction hearing observation project and with the new Amicus Project at UConn Law. I am deeply grateful that PILG empowered me to explore my interests in pursuing public interest work this past summer.

Krista Minniti, CT Office of the Federal Public Defender

This past summer I interned with the Federal Public Defender's Office in New Haven, CT.  I conducted legal and social science research and drafted memos for my supervising attorney to use during court hearings. I worked as a bilingual liaison, interviewing Spanish-speaking clients in order to draft a motion for the client's early termination of supervised release. The most memorable part of the internship was getting the chance to sit down with clients and interview them in order to create a social history used in their defense. I learned about them from their birth until present day, and those interactions helped confirm that I was meant to work in the field of public interest law. This opportunity would not have been possible without the very generous fellowship I received from the Public Interest Law Group. I was fortunate enough to have the financial security to work full-time with the office, and I found my passion while doing so!

Emily Leen, CT Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities

This past summer I was fortunate to intern with the Connecticut Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities. The Commission works to eliminate discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement. Through this internship, I was able to facilitate and observe both mediations and investigations and learn more about the process complainants go through, from their initial complaint to the public hearing stage. I am grateful to have received a PILG fellowship and honored to support PILG this year as President.

Abby Booth, Children's Rights

This past summer I interned with Children's Rights, a legal non-profit organization that investigates, exposes, and combats violations of the rights of children across the county. Children's Rights does this primarily through class action litigation that holds governments accountable and changes the way that children are treated in foster care. I want to thank PILG not only for the opportunity to work in my dream area of law, but also for the experience that I had as one of the Auction Chairs for last year's Auction! 

Morgen Barroso, Legal Services of South Central Michigan

This past summer, I externed at Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM) - a civil legal aid group in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I conducted client interviews, appeared in court, conducted legal research, filed expungements, and drafted motions on behalf of LSSCM clients. Among other things, LSSCM provided critical support for the eviction and housing crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for hundreds of individuals to have legal representation where they otherwise would have been without. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a PILG fellowship which afforded me the financial security to work full time with LSSCM. Thank you for supporting PILG so that students can continue to make an impact!

Kayla Sinko, New Jersey Office of the Public Defender

Last summer, I interned with the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender in the Division of Mental Health Advocacy. The Division represents low-income adults and children who are confined to psychiatric hospitals in the state of New Jersey. To help provide legal services to these clients, I conducted research and drafted legal memos on a variety of issues related to involuntary commitment and disability rights. Being awarded the PILG Fellowship provided me with the means to dedicate myself full time to this important work. Thank you to PILG and to all supporters of the Auction for making this opportunity possible! 

Constance Chien, CT Office of the Federal Defender

At the Office of the Federal Defender, I was assigned interesting projects, including mitigation briefs and motions for early termination of supervised release. It was a great opportunity to improve my legal writing and build upon my research skills, as well as have a concrete impact on the lives of our clients. As a result of my internship, I now understand more fully the role of the public defender office, and have gained an understanding of the increasing importance of social science research on trauma and addiction within the criminal justice system.