Emma Otterpohl, rising third year law student at the University of South Dakota School of Law, was selected as one of only thirty law students nation-wide to serve as a member of Equal Justice Works’ 2017 Rural Summer Legal Corps. Emma will serve clients through Iowa Legal Aid over the summer, receiving a $5,000 stipend to fund her service. The Rural Summer Legal Corps connects public interest law students with civil legal aid organizations to address pressing legal issues facing rural communities.
Emma joins 29 other public interest law students in addressing pressing legal issues facing rural communities in the areas of housing, domestic violence, public benefits, migrant farmworkers, Native American law, and family law. Specifically, Emma will provide services to low-income and elderly Iowans with legal issues such as housing, employment, and family law, among others. As part of her service, she will draft pleadings, conduct legal research, and accompany attorneys to court hearings.
Last week, Emma attended the official kick-off of this year’s Rural Summer Legal Corps in Washington, DC, at the joint training hosted by Equal Justice Works and the Legal Services Corporation. The students traveled to Martinsburg, West Virginia to gain first-hand experience and training on the unique challenges and benefits of working with legal clients in a rural setting. After their intensive training from experts in fields affecting rural law, the law students will return directly to their host site to continue their work at their rural placements.