Ashland Johnson EJF Report
The 2009 EJF Fellows
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This summer I worked as an intern for Lambda Legal in their southern regional office. Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation and community education. As a legal intern, I was responsible for legal research and writing for potential and ongoing cases, client intake and case managing, and request drafting (discovery request and Open Records Act Requests).
I began my legal training on the very first day of my internship. My supervisor had me sit in and take note on the deposition of a transgender woman who was terminated when her employer learned that she had decided to transition. This woman was the first client that I was assigned to help and throughout the summer I worked on several research and writing projects on her behalf. This client had worked for the city for two years and had a perfect employment record. But when her department head discovered she was transgender, he fired her. When I first started assisting with her case, she was understandably still upset about the situation and we were uncertain that the court would allow her to proceed with her claim. But after several meeting, memos, and depositions, we found out that the court did not dismiss her claim which was a great victory, especially for the underserved transgender community.
In addition to my research and writing duties, I was also responsible for client intake. Lambda Legal has a national Help Desk designed to assist members in the LGBT community with legal problems and questions. While working at the Help Desk, I was able to assist people with various legal issues such as employment discrimination, gender identity discrimination, HIV status discrimination, and acquiring name changes. Being able to interact with and immediately assist clients was a truly rewarding component of my entire summer experience.
Ultimately, I gained invaluable experience working with Lambda Legal this summer. Thank you EJF for all of your support!