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Housing still sought for law student interns
The Yuma County Legal Defender's Office and the Yuma County Public Defender's Office still need free housing opportunities for three male law students who are participating in a summer program with the two offices.
Jose de la Vara, the head of the Legal Defender's Office, said eight interns have been accepted into the program this year and so far the community has already offered up free housing opportunities for five of them.
"I'm looking for housing for them individually or together," de la Vara said. "They have become friends since both were accepted into our internship."
Since the law students will also still have to maintain their residences Phoenix, de la Vara said he is hoping to find places for the three interns to stay while they are here through house-sitting opportunities or situations with rent at no cost.
"They are law students so they aren't going to have much money," de la Vara said.
Anyone who may be able to help is being asked to call de la Vara's office at 817-4650. De la Vara started the program five years ago and 38 interns have been accepted to it over the years. And each year the community has offered housing to each and every one of them.
The two students who are interning with the Legal Defender's Office are Andrew High, who is finishing his first year of law school at the Phoenix School of Law (PSL), and Edwin Ramos, who is finishing his second year of law school, also at PSL.
High is a straight-A student, a PSL Student Bar Association Delegate and a PSL liaison to the Maricopa County Bar Association for the Young Lawyers Division.
"These are elected positions where Andrew was chosen by his peers," de la Vara said.
Prior to law school, High earned a bachelor of science in political science from Arizona State University with a 3.3 grade-point average. He also worked for a small tile and stone company in Scottsdale, initially as a project team co-leader/operations, then he became a branch manager and finally an operations manager.
"Andrew excels academically as well as at an interpersonal level. He is well-liked by his peers, professors and former employers," de la Vara said. "His superior skills, enthusiasm for learning and good-natured approach to life make him a welcome asset to the Legal Defender's Office."
Ramos is a member of the Hispanic Law Student Association, the Social Chair of the ASU Prelaw Society, a member of ASU Hispanic Honor Society and a member of ASU Latino Student Union.
Prior to law school, Ramos graduated from ASU with a bachelor of science in global business with a concentration in management, cum laude, and was on the Dean's List multiple semesters.
He has worked for University Physicians Healthcare, Phoenix, in the Marketing and Sales Department, for the state of Arizona as an account manager and as a sales representative/coordinator.
"Ramos is an exceptional student and a proven dedicated employee. He's also someone who gets along well with everyone," de la Vara said. "He attended community college and worked full time. Finally, he began the study of law at PSL and will graduate next year. Edwin comes from a strong loving family. He is passionate in his beliefs about justice and has great personal integrity."
The 10-week Yuma program starts on May 24 and ends Aug. 6. De la Vara started the program in 2005 as a way of attracting future attorneys to Arizona. So far he has hired two former interns: Matthew Marner and Emily Hart, who both participated in the program for two years.
The success of the program, de la Vara said, has been due in large part to the Yuma County residents who have given the participants places to stay while they were here, something he added that he is extremely grateful for.
De la Vara said being able to offer housing opportunities as part of the program to the interns allows them to concentrate on what they are learning and not have to worry about maintaining a residence back home.
Because so many law students are applying now to take part in the internship program, which has become very well-known and highly sought-after, de la Vara said it has allowed him the luxury of becoming very selective of the students they accept.
De la Vara added that in the five years he has been doing this, he has not had a single complaint from any of the homeowners.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854.