Volunteer Lawyers for Justice Welcomes Five Summer Interns from Rutgers and Seton Hall Law Schools

Top Quote Newark, N.J.-based Non-Profit Maintains Close Partnership with Top Area Law Schools. End Quote
  • Newark, NJ (1888PressRelease) July 03, 2012 - Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ) in Newark, N.J. has welcomed five summer interns, all of whom are current law school students at Rutgers School of Law - Newark or Seton Hall University School of Law. Interns include Corina De Lucia, Jessica Kalafut, Ian Liberty, Priscilla Monico, and Derek Soltis. Established in 2001, VLJ is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation providing comprehensive pro bono legal services to thousands of low-income individuals in New Jersey each year.

    "We are fortunate to have two of the top law schools in the Northeast right in our neighborhood and have maintained a close partnership with both of them for years," said Cathy Keenan, Esq., director of pro bono services at VLJ. "The law students at Rutgers and Seton Hall are of the highest caliber, and we are thrilled to have Corina, Jessica, Ian, Priscilla and Derek with us this summer."

    De Lucia and Kalafut Studying at Seton Hall University School of Law

    While at VLJ, De Lucia will spend the majority of her time working with clients of its Newark Reentry Legal Services (ReLeSe), which focuses on helping low-income Essex County residents with criminal records address the civil legal barriers that serve as obstacles to their successful community reintegration. De Lucia is in the Class of 2015 at Seton Hall. She earned both her B.A. and M.A. in criminal justice from Rutgers University-Newark, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and vice president of the Criminal Justice Honor Society. During college, she interned at the Office of United States Senator Robert Menendez and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey as a racial justice intern. In addition, she has worked for the United States Census Bureau as an administrative supervisor for South Hudson County.

    Also studying at Seton Hall is Kalafut, who is currently in her second year. Prior to law school, she obtained her B.A. and M.A. in social work from New York University, where she devoted her clinical hour requirement to assisting survivors of domestic violence. Last year, she served as an intern for Shelter Our Sisters, a domestic violence shelter servicing Bergen County offering crisis intervention and counseling services to clients. Kalafut also worked in the Victim Services Unit of the Kings County District Attorney's Office, providing criminal justice advocacy and crisis intervention to survivors of domestic violence. Additionally, she was a legal secretary for Thomas J. Duch, Esq., a licensed New Jersey attorney and City Manager of Garfield, N.J.

    "Our internship program is a unique hands-on learning experience," added Keenan. "We pride ourselves on that and the interns find it to be professionally rewarding."

    VLJ's extensive programming focuses on the areas of greatest need for the indigent population in New Jersey. Services include free legal counsel and advice; educational seminars on various legal matters such as consumer law, bankruptcy, family law, and special education; and direct representation for at-risk individuals facing critical civil legal issues.

    Liberty, Monico and Soltis at Rutgers Law School - Newark

    Liberty is entering his second year at Rutgers, where he is a member of the Rutgers Moot Court Board. He earned his B.S. in political science from Rutgers University, and was awarded the prestigious Kinoy-Stavis and the Proskauer Rose public interest fellowships. Currently, Liberty is the co-chair of the Public Interest Law Foundation, an organization responsible for providing grants to students working unpaid summer jobs in the public interest.

    Monico will graduate from Rutgers this December. She earned her B.S. in political communication from The George Washington University and an M.S. in teaching with a concentration in bilingual education from Pace University. For two years, Monico taught bilingual elementary education in the Washington Heights section of New York City through Teach for America (TFA). Simultaneously, she began pursuing her J.D. at Rutgers in the evening division. In addition, Monico acquired a professional teaching license in bilingual/bi-cultural education in N.J. and joined a team of educators and administrators to start the first-ever, dual-emersion charter school in the State. She was awarded the 2011 N.J. Governor Teachers' Recognition Award for her service. For her final year at Rutgers, she switched to the full-time program.

    Fellow VLJ intern, Soltis will graduate from Rutgers in October after attending the evening division for the past three years. While in law school, Soltis worked full-time, managing a W.W. Grainger branch in Manhattan which was responsible for $18 million in annual sales. Previously, he was a Street Law teacher at the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center and Dr. Alma E. Flag Middle School. His responsibilities involved teaching high-risk juveniles elements of practical law including human rights, democracy, consumer rights, and civil rights. Soltis received an M.B.A. in management systems with an international business designation along with an M.S. in information and communication systems from Fordham University and a B.B.A. in computer science from the University of Houston - Downtown.

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