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200, 200. Do I hear 225? 225. Do I hear 250? 250. SOLD at $250!

Bid calling will be heard throughout the evening at the law school on Thursday, March 11, as the student-run Public Interest Law Foundation holds its annual auction to raise money for Rutgers School of Law–Newark students who take unpaid public service and public sector jobs over the summer. The auction always attracts a large and enthusiastic crowd of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who come out to bid on Silent and Live Auction items and services, have dinner, enjoy each other’s company outside of the classroom setting, and support the law school’s notable commitment to public service.

PILF board   
Among those who have been working hard on the 2010 PILF Auction are (l-r): Kyle Smiddie, Timothy D’Arduni, Andrew Kunka, Ione Curva, PILF executive board co-chairs Sarah Garvey-Potvin and Rich Angelo, and Alex Fishbane.  
Since its founding, Rutgers PILF has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the summer stipend program. For many students, a PILF grant can make the difference between accepting an unpaid summer public interest job and forgoing an important step in developing a public service career. In 2009 PILF raised more than $44,000, enabling it to provide grants to 10 Rutgers students.

Over the years, working as locally as Newark and Trenton and as far away as India and Cambodia, PILF grant recipients have gained important legal experience while making a difference in the lives of their sponsoring organizations’ clients. In essays submitted to the PILF board after their summer internship, grant recipients write of how indispensable the stipend was and of how the experience advanced their education.

Following are comments from three 2009 recipients. Read about others in the PILF Newsletter

Lynette Renté ’10, who worked as a law clerk at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Newark, New Jersey office, was involved in interviewing claimants, drafting discovery demands and responses, summarizing deposition testimony, attending court conferences, analyzing documents, and assisting with outreach projects. She wrote of the experience: “The Public Interest Law Foundation’s summer funding gave me the opportunity to do what I came to law school for, be an advocate for marginalized individuals. My grant enabled me to devote myself to my work at the EEOC and not have to take a second job or incur more debt.”

Pierre Leandre ’10 interned at the law department of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where he drafted memoranda, affirmations, and affidavits, and attended depositions that touched on several practice areas. Leandre also engaged in community work involving the planned reconstruction of a PATH station, and described how that differed from his previous legal experience. “Rather than focusing on the punitive measures and methods of the criminal adversarial system as I did with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and with the Queens District Attorney’s Office, I had a chance rather to make a difference to a whole town without having to deal with any conflicting moral issues. This not only reassured my passion for public service, but also showed me a different avenue in advocating justice.”

PILF is accepting donations of Silent and Live Auction items and services until March 7.
Be creative. Be generous.

Mandy-Maria Sheridan ’10 held a joint internship at the Boaz Community Corporation, which provides education and legal services related to immigration and citizenship, and at Manavi, Inc., a women’s rights organization that works to end violence against South Asian women living in the U.S. Both are located in New Brunswick, NJ. At Manavi, Sheridan applied what she had learned in her international law classes to issues of transnational abandonment. About the experience at Boaz, where she has continued to intern throughout the academic year, Sheridan wrote: “ The opportunity to draft motions and legal memoranda, as well as the high volume of research and the amount of responsibility I was given, have all contributed to my determination to work in immigration law.”

The PILF grant also helped Sheridan to attend a three-week course in the Public International Law Summer Program at The Hague Academy of International law in the Netherlands. “Without the PILF grant,” she wrote, “furthering my education through this program would have been unlikely; more importantly, without the PILF grant, working both internships would have been impossible, and I would have lost an incredible opportunity.”

This year’s action will run from 5:30 – 11 pm. Tickets, which include a buffet dinner; beer, wine, and soda; bidding paddle; and participation in the Silent and Live Auctions, are $8 in advance, $12 at the door. Alumni who RSVP to pilf@pegasus.rutgers.edu pay the $8 advance ticket price.

The Silent Auction will open at 5:30 pm and Dean John Farmer will open the Live Auction at 7:30 pm. He’ll be followed by several experienced – and entertaining – PILF bid callers including Vice Dean Greg Mark and Professor John Kettle.

Among the Live Auction items pledged to date are:
  • A night of bowling with the Dean
  • Breakfast and a tour of D.C. with Sen. Robert Menendez ’79
  • Private home and restaurant lunches and dinners with law professors (and their celebrity relatives)
  • Tickets to symphony performances, Broadway shows, and major sporting events
  • Law professor-led bicycle tour of the Hamptons
  • Original works of art
  • Wine-tasting hosted by law faculty oenophile
  • Sushi-making, swing dancing, art, and roller skating lessons
  • Private aerial tour of New York City
  • Autographed show business and sports memorabilia

PILF is accepting donations of Silent and Live Auction items and services until March 7. Be creative – consider, for example, a piece of  jewelry or a book; a voucher for a professional or personal service, such as tax preparation or a salon appointment; a stay in a family-owned vacation home; a gift certificate to a restaurant or retail store; a themed gift basket. There is no deadline (or minimum amount) for monetary contributions. Be generous.