January 10, 2024

Kathrine Coonjohn

State of Alaska, Department of Law, Civil Division 
Juneau, Alaska

During my summer internship at the State of Alaska Department of Law, I received experience practicing Civil Law in my home community of Juneau, Alaska. Completing my first year of law school and being able to return to work and practice law was an incredible way to become acquainted with how Alaskans practice law, and what our current legal needs are.

My assignments were helpful to the state, and included a wide range of topics, such as torts, public corporations and government services, transportation and human services. All of my assignments were interesting and addressed Alaskan legal needs, including: an offer of judgment, a motion to allocate fault, two spreadsheet projects that each involved extensive statutory analysis, a legislative advisory opinion, and some general research memos. In addition to these assignments, I attended hearings and oral arguments that provided me with observational experience of court proceedings and participated in a mock trial that let me practice my court appearance. It is hard to put into words the gratitude that I felt to not only be selected for the internship, but also to be learning in the place where I wish to practice after graduation. The highlight of my internship was presenting to a client-agency, where I explained the significance of our statutory analysis and how they could use it to offer better services to their own clients—the citizens of Alaska. As this policy analysis would directly help individuals, I was intensely proud to be helping my community.

On the weekends, I was outside as much as possible, going fishing and hiking trails in the Tongass National Forest, the temperate rainforest that surrounds Juneau and the Mendenhall Glacier. The funding from PILP provided me not only with necessary housing and travel between Oregon and Alaska, but also afforded me opportunities to attend local networking events in both Juneau and Anchorage, and gain public interest experience that would not have been possible otherwise. I can’t wait to help pass this opportunity onto other public interest law students. Thank you so much, PILP!