John (Jack) Robert Puricelli
Philosophy and Religion major
St. Louis, Missouri
Where are you interning this summer and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
I am interning at Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic (NCLC) in Indianapolis. My responsibilities vary daily. On Mondays and Tuesdays, I am in court at Washington Township Small Claims Court with NCLC’s Tenant Assistant Program. I do not provide legal advice, but I help staff attorneys and paralegals assist clients facing eviction navigate the legal system and remain in their home.
On other days, I work with Director of Legal Services Liz Fiscus on case work, primarily taking notes during family law cases and occasionally helping to draft briefs and motions. I also provide remedial help planning volunteer events, filling in at the reception desk, and creating legal templates for the different departments at NCLC.
How does this experience relate to your major?
While religion is not explicit at NCLC, they were founded under the auspices of faith. NCLC began after an Easter sermon in 1994 and NCLC grounds its legal advocacy in Biblical ethics and concern for the poor. NCLC is a case study in practical Christian philosophy and theology.
What do you like most about your internship?
I enjoy the real-world legal experience NCLC offers. Undergraduate legal internships are hard to come by, and even harder to come by is meaningful legal work as an undergraduate. I’m grateful that NCLC has given me law experience in the courtroom and in lawyer’s offices.
What has surprised you the most about this experience?
I am surprised with how the legal system works. All of my experience so far has been in small claims court or family court. I expected much more legal fanfare and back and forth, but much of the delays come down to poor people not having the same resources as the more well-off. My short time with NCLC has exposed me to the glaring inequalities and disparities in the justice system.
What advice would you give another student who may be looking for an internship?
Ask professors for resources or connections. Merit is important but connections and determination matter far more in getting a job than a perfect resume.