Public Interest Scholars

2018 Public Interest Scholars

From criminal justice reform to environmental justice of juvenile advocacy, Dickinson Law’s Public Interest Scholars represent commitment to a spectrum of issues in public interest law. They also serve in leadership roles within the community and the Law School, such as Dickinson Law’s student representative to the Carlisle Borough Council, president of Dickinson Law’s Black Law Student Association, and student coordinators for a variety of Dickinson Law’s pro bono projects.

Meet our Public Interest Scholars

Courtney Lewis '19
Courtney Lewis '19
  

“I left a great administrative job in California for a legal education with the intent to work in criminal law reform centered on racial and social justice. While I am not married to any one idea or path of accomplishing that goal, I am committed to a career I hope will chip away at the foundations of a criminal legal system built on creating and maintaining racial hierarchy.”

Area of interest:
Criminal justice reform

Internships:
Innocence Project of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Office of Capital and Forensic Writs, Austin, TX; Judicial Intern to Hon. Jessica Brewbaker, Carlisle, PA

Activities:
Dickinson Law Review, Articles Editor; Diversity and Educational Equity Committee; Leading Law Students (Carlisle, PA Borough Council); Public Interest Law Fund, President

Publications:
Where the Constitution Falls Short: Confession Admissibility and Police Regulation, Dickinson Law Review, Volume 123, Issue 2 (anticipated)

Marcus Spisso '19
Marcus Spisso '19
  

“My long-term career goal is to be a child advocate. I have loved all of my experiences in public interest law, but nothing has been more meaningful than representing children in dependency court. I believe that there is no group more deserving of quality legal representation than children because they are such a vulnerable population.”

Area of interest:
Juvenile advocacy

Internships:
Dickinson Law Children’s Advocacy Clinic; KidsVoice, Pittsburgh, PA; Laurel Legal Services, Greensburg, PA

Activities:
Leading Law Students (Project L.E.A.F.); Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Clinic

Samuel "Trey" Manning III '20
Samuel "Trey" Manning III '20
  

“My professional goal is to have a legal career where I have the opportunity to make a difference in individual's lives and challenge systemic oppression. The impact my experience at the Pennsylvania Innocence Project had on my professional goals is reaffirming. It enhanced my devotion for assisting underserved communities through public interest. After this experience, I feel confident that this type of work is where my passion is.”

Area of interest:
Criminal justice reform

Internship:
Innocence Project of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, PA

Activities:
Black Law Students’ Association, President; Expungement/Clean Slate Clinics, Student Coordinator; Public Interest Law Fund, Event Coordinator

Tara Giarratano '20
Tara Giarratano '20
  

“Upon receiving an offer to work in the Luzerne County Public Defender's Office this past summer, I immediately accepted and canceled several interviews elsewhere. While I was unsure that I wanted to be a criminal lawyer, I felt that the job would be a great opportunity to learn client counseling and advocacy skills under pressure. In addition to traditional legal research and writing, my assignments included visiting clients who were incarcerated and communicating with their families. I quickly learned that many indigent criminal defendants struggle with mental health issues and addiction, which often feed off each other. The people represented by public defenders are among the most vulnerable in our society and in many ways are the ultimate underdogs.”

Area of interest:
Indigent criminal defense and civil rights

Internship:
Luzerne County Office of the Public Defender

Activities:
Moot Court Board, American Bar Association Team; Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity; Wills for Heroes, Student Coordinator; Women’s Law Caucus, Secretary

Tyler Ritchie '20
Tyler Ritchie '20
  

“I would love to work on impact litigation in the public interest sector. The fields I am most interested in are civil rights, consumer protection, and criminal justice reform. Moving forward, I plan to work for nonprofit organizations like the ACLU or the MacArthur Justice Center. I also would like to serve as a law clerk for a U.S. Circuit Court after graduation, as I view the experience to be gained from an appellate level internship as unparalleled when working on impact litigation.”

Areas of interest:
Civil rights and consumer protection impact litigation; criminal justice

Internship:
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Baton Rouge, LA

Activities:
Leading Law Students; Project SHARE, Student Coordinator; Public Interest Law Fund, Vice President of Service