December 8, 2011
2L Hunter Landerholm spent the summer after his 1L year doing legal services work at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County. While there, he worked for the housing and consumer unit and his work included evictions, Section 8 hearings, foreclosures, rent control work, habitability issues and Fair Housing Act cases, and his office was more than happy to let him pursue work in areas he was interested in.
Hunter found this work to be incredible and was happy to find that while his office was full of dedicated advocates, it was also a fun place to work. As with any legal services office, however, Hunter found the work to be challenging and emotionally draining at times. He acknowledged that it could be difficult to separate the anger or grief he felt over his clients’ problems from the professional perspective necessary for effective lawyering. While empathizing with his clients kept him passionate and his work interesting, these emotions did spill into other parts of his life.
Overall, Hunter had a great time last summer and he is hoping to pursue a career as a legal services lawyer. Along with these ambitions, Hunter’s summer experience strengthened his writing and research skills. Perhaps the best skill he honed over the summer was the art of negotiation, as he was able to convince a couple of landlords that generous settlements were in their interest.
For current 1Ls hoping to work in legal services this summer, Hunter also offers some insight into which of his 1L classes proved to be most useful. LRW helped with his writing and researching, but principles he learned in Contracts and Property also popped up. Leg Reg also helped a great deal, as did the Goldberg line of cases he covered in Civ Pro.
Written by OPIA 1L Section Representative Zack Hill