Spotlight on 2012 PIFP Fellow Kane Podraza
In the summer of 2012, Kane Podraza '14 worked in the Montgomery County Public Defender's Office as a Public Interest Fellow, giving him almost daily interaction with indigent clients. There, Podraza had the opportunity to review Accelerated Rehabilitative Dispositions, guilty plea colloquies and behavioral health court applications. At the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and Montgomery County Correctional Facility, he conducted interviews prior to parole and probation hearings, at Building 50, the county mental health facility, he interacted with clients in the ward and observed commitment hearings, and in Juvenile Court, he observed delinquency and dependency hearings firsthand. Additionally, through this fellowship he had the opportunity to work one-on-one with attorneys to produce memoranda on issues such as the Apparent Authority Doctrine in search and seizure cases and Post-Conviction Relief in Pennsylvania under the United States Supreme Court decisions in Brady v. Maryland and Kyles v. Whitley, drafted a motion to sever co-defendants, brainstormed possible case strategies for a murder trial and assisted clients in prison during two-way video conferencing probation violation pleas. Most importantly, through his PIFP Fellowship Podraza developed legal skills and knowledge of the law that he feels he would not have been able to acquire in a classroom setting.
Named for VLS alumnus, Walter E. Lucas '88, the Walter Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program (PIFP) at Villanova University School of Law provides financial support to students who commit their summers to public service legal work. Many law students, dedicated to helping the less fortunate, are limited by financial constraints. Similarly, public interest legal organizations often cannot afford to hire much needed summer interns. Through fundraising, PIFP provides summer fellowships to Villanova Law students, who in turn aid the larger community by working with various public interest organizations and their clients.
An entirely student-run organization, PIFP funds student fellowships through a variety of creative endeavors. To date, PIFP has raised over $717,000 and has awarded over 150 summer fellowships. The highlight of PIFP's fundraising efforts is the annual Spring Auction, held at Villanova Law School and featuring items solicited by students and faculty throughout the school year. The first auction, held in April 1998, raised $19,000 and funded six summer fellowships. The fifteenth annual auction was held on March 23, 2012 and helped PIFP raise over $67,000 to fund 15 summer fellowships.
This year's PIFP auction is scheduled for Friday, March 15, 2013