Join the MLPC Hawaii Team
The Medical-Legal Partnership for Children In Hawaii welcomes all students, interns, and pro bono volunteers to work with our legal clinic program. We are happy to work with your flexible schedule to provide you real world case opportunities and community advocacy projects. All interested parties should send a cover letter and resume to the MLP director for consideration of all opportunities. Please note that your email will be responded to in the order that it is received.
Learn more about past student experiences with MLPCH and what you can expect when interning or volunteering with our program.
Denielle Pedro, WSRSL Class of '24
Denielle Pedro, Richardson School of Law Class of ʻ24 and Ulu Lehua Scholar, interned with MLP during the summer of 2022 on an Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL) Grant.
At MLPC Hawaii, I was exposed to a wide range of practical legal experiences in various areas of law. I was tasked with legal research duties on matters of employment law, family law, landlord-tenant law, and criminal law. Additionally, I was able to perform client intakes in collaboration with KKV clinic, assist in writing legal memoranda and correspondences, and learn a legal practice software. At the end of this internship, I submitted a policy brief on a houselesseness triaging tool that was discovered to be inaccurate in triaging scarce federal resources. This was possible due to MLPC’s guidance and expertise in housing law.
There were many noteworthy experiences during my internship, including a site-visit to Kuhio Towers and the Kokua Kalihi Valley health center. During the visit, I could see how engaged the community was with MLPC, as tenants going about their day would stop to talk story with the MLPC staff. We were able to visit a few community-based programs held at KPT, such as a sewing program where community members engaged in gainful employment by tailoring and sewing wonderful hand-made pieces for sale. We were also able to discuss legal issues regarding privatization of the public housing units, which informed my second-year seminar paper this past Spring semester. At the end of our visit, we enjoyed a delicious, fresh lunch from Roots Café in the KKV clinic, which offers the community locally sourced, fresh produce and nutritious meals conveniently located on site.
Although the learning curve was challenging, the attorney’s at MLPC were excellent teachers and mentors in the practice of law and in community advocacy. They are patient, compassionate and diligent, and will offer interns many opportunities to get their hands dirty with rich, practical legal experiences. I have come away from this internship with a deeper understanding of the kuleana I will be expected to responsibly assume as an attorney upon graduation, and so much respect for the work being done in this wonderful program.
Emily Walker, WSRSL Class of '22
Emily Walker, Richardson School of Law Class of '22, interned with MLP during the summer of 2020 on an Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL) Grant.
1. Can you describe in general the type of work you did for the MLP?
I was able to explore areas such as landlord-tenant disputes, employment law, family law, poverty and welfare law, criminal law, immigration law, and general legal inquiries. As a law student I was able to work directly with clients and attorneys at the Medical-Legal Partnership and received valuable experiences that shaped my professional legal skills. Further, the Medical-Legal Partnership team made sure that I was working with communities in a meaningful way and taught me how to be a good community advocate. As the attorneys at the MLP perform direct service with the community, I was also able to support them in their necessary community work and see the impact the work had in Hawaii. Specifically, in my 1L summer, I wrote research memos on legal issues that arose, reviewed records, drafted demand letters, created community resources and was involved in client calls.
2. What work have you done with the MLP that you are most proud of?
I am proud that I got to work with MLP during the COVID-19 pandemic. I was able to help clients navigate the COVID-19 relief applications as well as state unemployment insurance difficulties. At law school, I felt as if I was missing a space to apply my newfound legal knowledge to supporting the community, until I worked at MLP. I was very proud of the work I and the team did during this public health crisis to connect people to resources, and attempt to fill the gaps in Hawaii's public health emergency plan where it fell short for families involved with the KKV clinic. This experience added value to my experience at law school by allowing me space to use my legal education to uplift community voices and experiences. I am very thankful for my time with the attorneys and care providers involved with MLP.
3. How has your work with the MLP shaped how you think about lawyering and your career?
MLP gave me a look into what community lawyering should look like. The attorneys, doctors, and KKV team work alongside the community and are very connected to the populations they provide direct service to. This creates equitable and sustainable practices, and creates a community of trust between law, medicine, and community members who would like to access either. When I look for future career opportunities, I know that I want to keep that type of lawyering at the heart of any work or advocacy I do that may have an impact in Hawaii.
4. What advice or thoughts do you have for other students considering working with the MLP?
Students who are considering working with MLP should know that there are a variety of opportunities available including, development of general legal skills due to the various subject matters MLP lawyers come across, potential for direct services to clients, policy or advocacy related projects, and development of public interest lawyering skills. Other than the opportunities for general legal professional skill development, students interested in performing impactful work with community should apply here. I highly recommend that students spend time with the MLP attorneys as it has been the most impactful experience throughout my law school years. Also, be ready to jump right in!