“Watching the Black Letter Law Come to Life”

“I have seen victims of domestic violence—who are scared and unsure of themselves—morph into assertive women and men who know their rights and want to take charge of their cases after coming to the Buhai Center,” said summer 2013 intern, Suzanna Megrabyan. “You would not experience that in a classroom.” The resounding message from the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law summer interns is that law schools are providing them with an extensive substantive foundation, but they lack tangible experience. The Center’s Summer Internship program strives to create a hands-on, educational environment where interns can hone the skills and build the confidence needed to practice law.

Each summer, students from various accredited law programs are selected to join the Harriett Buhai Center and are exposed to a wide range of opportunities, including conducting client interviews, drafting pleadings and filing documents with the court. Summer 2013 law student Brittany Gorin said that she wanted to intern with the Center because “it is addressing actual problems affecting women and children in Los Angeles.” Throughout her internship, Ms. Gorin has learned she loves working with people. “At the Center, you can interact with clients and witness actual results, and know that you are helping someone.”

Over the years, the Harriett Buhai Center has developed a strong mentorship program where students enjoy staff attorney feedback. “The supervising attorneys are very responsive to our inquiries and tailor the experience to fulfill our goals,” noted summer intern Debbie An. Center attorneys help law students apply the information they learned in the classroom to real cases. “It is amazing to watch the black letter law come to life,” remarked summer 2013 intern Andrew Jones, returning from the spring. “It goes beyond a law school exam that requires issue spotting and applying the law to achieve one final result. It requires that we take each client’s case and adapt the law to resolve their conflict,” echoed intern Jeremy Abrigo. “It has a humanizing effect.”

*Center summer 2013 interns pictured left to right: Brittany Gorin (The University of Chicago Law School), Amelia Edwards (The University of Southern California School of Law), Debbie An (The University of Southern California School of Law), Alexandra Chirico (The University of Southern California School of Law), Jeremy Abrigo (City University of New York School of Law), Suzanna Megrabyan (Loyola Law School, Los Angeles), and Andrew Jones (UCLA School of Law).