Karmel Keeton (our former summer intern from Mississippi College of Law) and Angelik Edmonds (our former University of California President’s Public Service Legal Fellow) offer a short reflection on their time at Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation.
Reflections from Karmel Keeton
Thoughts on a summer at AVLF
My experience interning with Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF) this past summer has been nothing short of amazing! I am humbled and grateful to have had the opportunity to assist AVLF’s Safe & Stable Homes Program (SSHP) in settling low-income tenant housing disputes.
This internship has provided me with an in-depth understanding and hands-on experience of landlord-tenant law in the state of Georgia. Not only was I able to expand my knowledge in this legal realm and hone my skills, but I was able to give back and experience first-hand how the practice of pro-bono law can truly change someone’s life for the better.
I am empowered to make a difference, to be of service, and to lead.
Overall, my experience at AVLF has been eye-opening, informative, and fulfilling. As a rising second-year law student at Mississippi College School of Law, I applied to law school with the mindset of practicing either public interest or civil rights law. Since interning at AVLF, this sentiment has been strongly re-affirmed. I am empowered to make a difference, to be of service, and to lead. I appreciate all that AVLF has had to offer, and hope to return again to volunteer.
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Reflections from Angelik Edmonds
My year as a public service attorney fellow
As my title suggests, I spent the last year as a University of California President’s Public Service Fellow at Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. And while I had the opportunity to serve vulnerable communities in this position, I was also served by my clients with their trust, appreciation, and honor.
From the start of my fellowship, clients trusted me with the most vulnerable parts of themselves. I started my journey in the Safe Families Office, a walk-in clinic for domestic violence survivors to apply for temporary protective orders. Each day, I was impressed by the resilient spirit of survivors, who despite a bleak outlook, chose to fight for their futures and their families. I was equally impressed with my colleagues who siphoned the strength from their clients to pour into the office.
From the start of my fellowship, clients trusted me with the most vulnerable parts of themselves.
For the last half of my fellowship, I worked on landlord-tenant and unpaid wage cases in the Safe and Stable Homes project. There, I was able to acquire more than $26,000 in damages for deserving clients. But more important than dividends, I was paid in appreciation with hugs and thank yous. With a community-lawyering emphasis and an intersectional approach, I strived to make my clients feel respected and deserving of excellent legal representation, regardless of their socioeconomic status. I believe I was able to accomplish that goal.
Honor is the final pillar of my AVLF experience. I was honored to work with amazing colleagues, who shared my passion for justice and collaborative can-do attitude. A very special thank you to AVLF leadership who supported me in my goals, empowered me to manage my own case load, and mentored me in various capacities. I feel so fortunate to have had this experience as my first post-graduate position and look forward to taking on cases as a volunteer.