Thursday, August 14, 2014

Liberty Institute Interns Raise the Bar


Here’s how our legal and marketing interns went above and beyond this summer . . .



This summer Liberty Institute hosted 12 interns in our legal and marketing departments at our headquarters in Texas.  Representing the best of tomorrow’s leaders, this dynamic group of young men and women exceeded expectations and contributed significantly to Liberty Institute’s ongoing work to defend and restore religious liberty in America.

THE LAW IS ON THEIR SIDE

In our legal department, overseen by Liberty Institute General Counsel Jeff Mateer, six interns worked closely with our legal team as they assisted their efforts in more than 50 legal matters.

"Liberty Institute has been blessed to provide summer internships to some of the brightest law students in the nation,” says Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Michael Berry, who directed the legal internship program.  “Our legal interns worked tirelessly and made meaningful contributions to many of our important and high profile cases.”

Carrying on a strong tradition and partnership, the Blackstone Legal Fellowship Program placed three legal interns with Liberty Institute:  Nico Caluda, a second-year law student at University of Notre Dame Law School, Michael Ross, a second-year law student at Vanderbilt University Law School, and Scott Toland, a third-year law student at The University of Texas School of Law.

“I was so intrigued by Liberty Institute’s mission of restoring religious liberty,” Scott says.  “During this summer, I have learned just how important it is to work to protect our religious freedoms, and I am eager to contribute to fulfilling this mission throughout my career.”

Michael agrees.  “I never realized how high the stakes were for the current legal battles going on in our culture war. . . .  There is much work to be done.  We need to work in the legal area and elsewhere to protect our right to practice Christianity freely.”

Daniel Stockton, a second-year law student at Duke University School of Law, and returning interns Mike Andrews, a student at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, and Christine Tang, a second-year law student at Southern Methodist University, also served as legal interns with Liberty Institute.

“By the end of the summer, our legal interns gained valuable experience, and a small taste of what it's like to be on the front lines of the battle for religious liberty in America,” adds Berry.  “The bonds forged during their internship experience are real and lasting.  And most, if not all, Liberty Institute interns express a strong desire to continue working with Liberty as volunteer attorneys in the future.  I think that speaks volumes about the quality of opportunity that we provide."

GETTING THE WORD OUT

Liberty Institute’s marketing department also hosted interns this summer—six in all.  Three in this group have plans to pursue a legal career, but also wanted to learn more about communication and promotion techniques before continuing on to law school after completing their undergraduate studies.

“Our marketing interns tackled a wide variety of projects from research and writing to graphics development and social outreach,” says Liberty Institute’s Digital Communications Manager Guy Serwin.  “Regardless of task, their enthusiasm and tenacious desire to learn and grow in their marketing skills was evident and the resulting work product exceeded my initial expectations.”

Bethany Spare, a graduate of Kansas State University and the University of Oxford, Keble College in Oxford, England, assisted in writing many case studies this summer.  Headed to law school this fall at the University of Texas in Austin, Bethany’s internship at Liberty Institute was part of her externship with the John Jay Institute, and greatly reinforced her decision to study law.

“I loved the opportunity to speak with the lawyers, to see their passion and their desire to protect the opportunities guaranteed by our government,” Bethany says of her internship.  The work being done in these halls will influence the direction of public life in the United States for the next generations.

In addition to Bethany, two other marketing interns also exercised their writing muscles as they helped with communication and promotional materials.

Callie Walker, a sophomore in the University Scholar program at Baylor University, wrote several blog articles aimed at educating youth about their religious rights.  She also assisted in writing press materials and coordinating media interviews.

“Before coming to Liberty Institute,” Callie shares, “I might have heard mention of religious liberty and a few cases here and there.  But they were always unbelievable and easy to write-off.  Now, encountering these cases first hand on a daily basis, I realize that they are unbelievable and far greater in number than I had every imagined. . . .  The work here is vital to the future of America, and everyone here works with an incredible vigor and excellence that is an honor to experience.”

Catherine Frappier, a Christian Writers Guild Apprentice, who is headed to Criswell College this fall to study Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and Megan Legband, a pre-law major with an English literature and French language focus in the University Scholar program at Baylor University, also refined their skills as they wrote blog articles and helped update case pages and general content on our website.

“Working as an intern, I learned that there are more opponents to religious liberty than you would think,” shares Catherine.  “But another thing I learned working here is that the law is on the side of religious liberty, and that when we stand up and skillfully defend our religious rights we usually win.”

Megan, who says she has appreciated the research and writing experience she’s had while interning at Liberty Institute, agrees.  “I have hope that we will continue to fight for the right to express our religious beliefs without condemnation.  This organization, among others, gives me hope for the future of religious freedom.”

SHARING AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT

Assisting in our social media outreach initiatives were interns Cody Barras, a senior English major with a minor in law and legal reasoning at Southern Methodist University, and Alyssa Simmons, a senior strategic communications major at Oklahoma State University. 

Both Alyssa and Cody contributed countless hours toward identifying and connecting Liberty Institute with friends and supporters online, and promoting our work to defend and restore religious liberty across the Internet through visual imagery and written word.

“I wanted an internship where I would be around the process of legal work,” Cody explains, “but where I would still be beneficial to the work—an asset rather than a burden.  I didn’t know that religious liberties law was its own branch of law, and once I discovered this I was even more drawn to this organization. 

“I have never thought it would be possible to marry my faith and the law in such a way, so when I saw that not only did such a thing exist but the work done was so important, I knew I wanted to intern here.”

THE FUTURE OF THE NEXT GENERATION . . . AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Liberty Institute is committed to reaching the next generation, and encouraging and challenging young men and women—like the interns who have honed their skills at Liberty Institute this summer—to be the difference in our world and stand up against widespread hostility to religious expression in America today.

“Our summer interns proved themselves to be young men and women of great character and potential who are at the very top of their educational game,” says Mateer.  “They’re walking away with invaluable experience as they’ve worked alongside seasoned professionals on the front lines of the fight to save religious liberty in America.  And they’ve provided hands-on support to help Liberty Institute continue the fight to save our most precious liberty.  We’re grateful for each one and wish them the best in their careers to come.”

INTERNSHIPS AT LIBERTY INSTITUTE

If you or someone you know is interested in applying for an internship with Liberty Institute for this fall, next spring, or next summer, please contact us now to learn more . . . and be a part of the largest legal organization dedicated solely to defending and restoring religious liberty in America today!


About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.