Hi, my name is Pearl Dalla and I am from Massachusetts. I am a rising junior majoring in International Relations, Social Policy & Practice, Philosophy, and I am Pre-Law.
I am interning with the Pro Bono program at Southeast Lousiana Legal Services. SLLS is one of two governmentally funded firms in the state of Louisiana, providing free legal aid to low income people in the Southeast of Louisiana, where half of the state’s poverty resides. Alongside Alabama and Florida, Lousiana is one of three states in the US where legal aid is not provided by the courts. This year is SLLS’s 50 year anniversary and serves the 22 parishes in the southeast through six offices: Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Harvey, Houma, and New Orleans.
Through my summer at SLLS I hope to gain a hands-on understanding of what it takes to build a successful case file through research, to learn how to properly research information for case files, to learn what the many paths that a case can go down, to gain knowledge about what professional tools are needed in the law field, namely as far as communications go, and learn how to work with vulnerable populations in the law field.
My internship at SLLS fits into NCI’s mission to educate undergraduate women for leadership in the 21st century because it provides me with an understanding of how leaders can use their skills to give back. SLLS is reliant on volunteers and attorneys who want to fight for those who may not be able to access legal services elsewhere because of their income status. Quite a few of those that help at SLLS are retired and continue to be leaders even once they have wrapped up their careers, showing a dedication to the equitable practice of law. I get to work with and witness real changemakers who have touched people’s lives- a model that I hope to reflect upon and internalize. I am excited to be able to work with such inspirational people for the common interest of filling in gaps in legal aid within Southeast Louisiana.