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GLLF COVID-19 Research Repository

Created and collected as part of the Georgia Latino Law Foundation's Virtual Judicial Internship Program, Summer Class 2020

Program Introduction

   “The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. -Oliver Wendell Holmes         

          The Georgia Latino Law Foundation’s Virtual Judicial Internship Program, Summer Class of 2020, was created to provide a meaningful summer experience for second-year law students whose summer plans and employment were disrupted by the spread of COVID-19. Legal professionals from across the state came together to create a program that would allow students to engage and connect with the legal community and gain invaluable experience working for a judge. In addition to pairing students with judges and attorney mentors, the program asked students to perform research on a legal issue arising from the pandemic.

          The ripple effects of COVID-19 touched every court and their respective operations, so one of the chief goals of the program was to compile these research memos into a single collection that could be shared with the Georgia judiciary to serve as a resource to navigate the emerging issues as they appeared before them. From intellectual property law to family law, students created generalized research memos to help attorneys and judges find the legal resources they need. This publicly available body of research serves to assist all those in the legal profession, and the projects have been divided into topical chapters based on the legal issue they address.

          This project would not have been possible without the hard work of the committee of legal professionals who founded this internship program and the generosity of the attorneys and judges who volunteered their time to serve as mentors and offer guidance throughout the research process. A special thanks to the Georgia State College of Law Library staff for their assistance in providing legal research training materials and allowing this collection of research to be stored in their legal database for the public to access. Further thanks to Eddy Atallah from the University of Georgia School of Law and Wesley Billiot from Georgia State University College of Law for compiling this database on behalf of the program. Finally, the Georgia Latino Law Foundation thanks all the judicial interns that overcame the challenges of COVID-19 and worked hard to make this program a success.

Open Letter to the Judiciary

Dear Members of the Georgia Judiciary, 

          As the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the nation in early Spring, many employers shut their doors for the summer. The Georgia Judiciary, however, opened theirs, and welcomed twenty-seven law students from across Georgia’s law schools to participate in a novel internship opportunity. Organized by the Georgia Latino Law Foundation, the Virtual Judicial Internship Program paired student interns with judges across the state, giving students a rewarding summer experience from the safety of their homes.  

           For many of us, this was our first exposure to the judiciary. We can now confidently say that we have observed and learned from the best! While we appreciated every aspect of the experience, some stood out as exceedingly educational.

The most educational experience for me was learning that being a good advocate for your client involves more than paperwork. Being prepared in court to avoid consistent continuances and being proactive with opposing counsel helps your client and the court system. – Ashley Lindsey, Intern to Judge Temika Murry (DeKalb County Juvenile Court)

I enjoyed my judge's approach of throwing me right to work and trusting me to draft orders from day one of the internship. Initially, I was nervous and felt intimidated by the task at hand, however, as I began to receive more assignments to draft orders I felt more comfortable. I feel that this experience has not only improved my writing skills and my ability to see issues objectively but it has allowed me to better hone my research skills as well. – Kayla Watkins, Intern to Judge Leslie Gardner (United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia)

My most educational experience was researching for the memos I wrote. It was the first time I realized that sometimes in the legal field there may be no answers to the question we are analyzing. It was good for me to learn that so early on in my career and taught me a lot about how to approach research. – Leila Fawaz, Intern to Judge Sarah Doyle (Georgia Court of Appeals)

          Not only was our time with each participating judge educational; it was also enjoyable. Each of you made a point to include us in a variety of incredible activities, hearings, and meetings. Several interns shared their favorite moments with us as well.

I really enjoyed attending court hearings. The LGTBQ+ adoption hearings were the most memorable experience for me.     – Michelle Grant, Intern to Judge Alexandra Manning (Fulton County Magistrate Court)

I was able to go into the new Court of Appeals. It was so cool. I was able to meet Judge Doyle in person! – Leila Fawaz, Intern to Judge Sarah Doyle (Georgia Court of Appeals)

What I most enjoyed was the opportunity to research novel areas of law. Prior to this experience, I had the false impression that much of what appeared in state trial courts would be settled law. I quickly found out that not only was that not true but also that the issues appearing before Superior Court judges are incredibly complex. I appreciate Judge Bucci for giving me the opportunity to learn so much more about state trial courts! – Tallulah Lanier, Intern to Judge Dean Bucci (Paulding Judicial Circuit Superior Court)

          For many of us, this summer was better than we could have imagined. Faced with fears of unemployment, or simply a lack of a good experience, you all stepped up to advocate for us and teach us. Our interns had these thanks to share. 

So many members of the judiciary assembled to make this opportunity possible for us. It’s a testament to how much mentorship is valued in the Georgia legal community. I want to thank every single judge who made this program possible. You saw a need, and you rose to the occasion. For that, I can’t thank you enough. - Abby Coker, Intern to Judge Jason Ashford (Houston County State Court)

I have been absolutely amazed by the willingness of the legal community, especially the judiciary, to connect with and guide law students in their young careers.  It has been such an honor and immensely valuable. - David Harding, Intern to Chief Judge Reuben Green (Cobb Superior Court)

I want to thank the judges who participated this summer. I know that all of you are busy and that I am sure the pandemic did not ease the weight on your shoulders. The fact that you all took the time to work with law students is very encouraging. Each of us were owed nothing, but the Georgia Judiciary stepped up and took the time to mentor us, ensuring that we were still able to have a meaningful summer experience and gain a new connection. For that I am very grateful. Collectively, it shows the great leadership that we have in the legal community. I look forward to potentially appearing before some of you soon. – Jacob Cohen, Intern to Judge J. Wade Padgett (Augusta Judicial Circuit Superior Court)

          In the midst of one of the most challenging times in human history, you gave us the opportunity to excel. You gave us the opportunity to learn, to develop, to succeed. You let us observe your hearings, trials, adoptions. You let us ask you tough questions. For all of that, each of us will be forever thankful for each of you.

          You all chose to accept the call of the bench. In doing so, each day you make our profession and our world better. Thank you for letting us see your care for the world up close. Thank you for helping us find our path, change our trajectories. The legal profession is often one of connections, and you gave us the opportunity to connect. Thank you for all that you do.

           As we close, we make a promise to you—just as each of you has virtually opened your chambers to us this summer, giving us the opportunity to learn and excel, we promise to do the same for future generations. Whether we may be in private practice, public interest, government, legislature, or the judiciary ourselves, we promise to lift, train, and help the next generation. Thank you for helping us so that we may help others in the future.

Sincerely,

Eddy Atallah, University of Georgia School of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Jeff Hanson

Bibb County State Court

Abby Coker, Georgia State University College of Law

1L; virtual clerk for Judge Jason Ashford

Houston County State Court

Brynner Batista, Emory University School of Law

1L; virtual clerk for Judge Jane C. Barwick

Fulton County Superior Court

Natalie DeLatour, Georgia State University College of Law

1L; virtual clerk for Judge Russ McClelland 

Forsyth County State Court

Wesley Billiot, Georgia State University College of Law

1L; virtual clerk for Chief Judge Linda Cowen

Clayton County State Court

Alex Edmonds, University of Georgia School of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Kimberly Anderson

DeKalb County State Court

Juan Bernal, Emory University School of Law

1L; virtual clerk for Judge Jason Ashford

Houston County State Court

Katherine Edmonds, Georgia State University College of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Brendon F. Murphy

Cobb County Magistrate Court

Nathan Casian-Lakos, Emory University School of Law

1L; virtual clerk for Judge Philip C. Smith

Forsyth County Superior Court

Leila Fawaz, Georgia State University College of Law

1L; virtual clerk for Judge Sara Doyle

Georgia Court of Appeals

Jacob Cohen, Georgia State University College of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge J. Wade Padgett

Superior Court, Augusta Judicial Circuit

Henry Gao, Emory University School of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Robert McBurney

Fulton County Superior Court

Michelle Grant, Mercer University School of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Alex Manning

Fulton County Magistrate Court

Juan Martinez, Emory University School of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Paul W. Bonapfel

United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Georgia

David Harding, Georgia State University College of Law

3LP; virtual clerk for Judge Reuben M. Green

Cobb County Superior Court 

Adebukola Ola, University of Georgia School of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Rachel Krause

Fulton County Superior Court

Rebecca Hu, Georgia State University College of Law

2L; virtual Clerk for Judge Susan Edlein

Fulton County State Court

Kevin Peterson, Emory University School of Law

1L; virtual clerk for Judge Ralph Van Pelt

Superior Court, Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit

Ian Kecskes, University of Georgia School of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Emily K. Richardson

Fulton County Superior Court

Marcela Sierra-Arce, Florida State University College of Law

1L; virtual clerk for Judge Martin Valbuena

Paulding County Magistrate Court

Kaylee Kohlmaier, Emory University School of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Steven Grimberg

District Court Judge, Northern District of Georgia

Mahham Syed, Atlanta John Marshall Law School

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Rizza O'Connor

Chief Magistrate Judge, Toombs County

Tallulah Lanier, Emory University School of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Dean C. Bucci

Paulding County Superior Court

Rochelle Walker, Atlanta John Marshall Law School

2L; virtual clerk for Judge John M. De Foor II

Fulton County Magistrate Court

Yixuan Lian, Emory University School of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Joe C. Bishop

Senior Superior Court Judge, Georgia Superior Court

Kayla Watkins, Georgia State University College of Law

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner

District Court Judge, Middle District of Georgia

Ashley Lindsey, John Marshall Law School

2L; virtual clerk for Judge Temika Murry

DeKalb County Juvenile Court

 

            

Disclaimer: The views and opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the State of Georgia, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. Georgia State University College of Law and the authors of the works contained on this website do not assume or accept any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, currentness, or comprehensiveness of the content on this website. The content on this website does not in any manner constitute the issuance of legal advice or counsel. The information on this website is intended to provide resources that may aid the research of the topics presented, and are in no way a comprehensive list of sources one should consult on the topics presented. Please note that case law, statutory law, and administrative law may be modified and/or overturned. Additionally, because the laws vary between jurisdictions, the laws referred to herein may or may not be applicable to the law within the reader’s jurisdiction.