Q & A with PILI Intern Adrien Fernandez

Q & A with PILI Intern Adrien Fernandez

Each year Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) hosts a legal intern through the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Law Student Internship Program. The program connects law students from across the country with legal aid agencies in Illinois. Interns work part-time during the school year to help increase the impact of the agency and develop their legal skills.

This year, LCBH is excited to work with Adrien Fernandez. Adrien grew up in a suburb of Akron, Ohio and moved to Columbus to attend Ohio State University. She always wanted to live in Chicago so when she was applying to law schools, she mainly focused on schools in the city. She now attends Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

We sat down with Adrien for a Q & A to learn more about her.

Q: What was your major at Ohio State?
A: I double majored in History and Spanish.

Q: What inspired you to attend Law School?
A: While at Ohio State, I became interested in working for the government but I was not sure in what capacity. During my senior year, I had an internship with the Ohio Public Defender’s Office in their Death Penalty Division. I enjoyed the work and thought that what the attorneys did there was admirable. This really cemented for me that I wanted to work for the public and becoming an attorney was a way I could do that.

Q: Why did you want to intern at LCBH?
A: During my first year of law school, I took a class where we went to the Daley Center to observe eviction court. I was completely astounded at how fast each case was and I wanted to learn more about the process and how attorneys can help tenants. LCBH seemed like the perfect way to learn more about tenancy in Chicago and get hands on experience with what I saw at the Daley Center.

Q: What was your first impression of LCBH?
A: I was amazed at how a small staff is able to offer so many services and provide a high level of support to clients and the community.

Q: What do you find most challenging about your internship?
A: Before LCBH, I did not have an internship where I interacted with clients on a regular basis so at first it was a little challenging to find the balance between letting a person expound upon things in order to find the pertinent facts in their story but also keeping them on topic.

Q: What housing issues concern you the most?
A: The lack of affordable housing in Chicago is most concerning to me. So many additional problems seem to manifest from not having affordable housing, such as children struggling in school from the lack of stable housing or the negative impact on health, due to uninhabitable living conditions. The need for more affordable housing is urgent because it does not just affect a person’s ability to be sheltered. It is so much more than that.

Q: What do you hope to learn from this experience?
A: There are a lot of things that I want to gain from this experience (and I think I have already gained from last semester). I want to improve my writing skills. The environment is fast paced, with a quick turnaround; my hope is to learn how to produce quality work on a short deadline. Also, I hope to improve my interactions when working with clients and the community.

Q: What do you want to do after you finish law school?
A: After graduating law school, I would like to work for a federal agency. I am still deciding on what area of law interests me the most.

Q: What might someone be surprised to know about you?
A: I’ve run 5 marathons in 3 years and I just signed up to run my 6th marathon the other day.