Each summer, Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, partners with the Legal Services Corporation, the nation’s largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans, to support dedicated law students who want to serve rural communities as part of the Rural Summer Legal Corps (RSLC). This year, BYU Law’s Andrew Garrett (‘22) is one of 35 recipients selected from over 400 applicants to receive a RSLC Student Fellowship.
Garrett will work for Utah Legal Services in St. George, Utah, a single attorney office which covers 5 large counties in the southwestern part of the state. Working primarily with victims of domestic violence, he will have the opportunity to appear in court hearings for protective orders, learn the intricacies of family law practice in Utah, and provide outreach to victim advocates, shelters, and other community agencies serving the poor throughout Southwestern and Central Utah.
RSLC Fellows have the opportunity to explore their passion for public interest while gaining valuable legal skills and helping to address the access-to-justice crisis for people living in rural areas. “The reason I went to law school was to learn how to use the law to advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves,” said Garrett. “My project with RSLC will help provide legal services to victims of domestic violence in rural Utah.” In addition to helping individual clients to navigate the legal system during a traumatic time in their lives, Garrett’s hopes to use his experience working with government and nonprofits to improve Utah Legal Services’ outreach programs in Southern Utah. “We often imagine poverty in an urban context, but low-income individuals in rural areas have their disadvantages compounded by a lack of accessible community resources. Creating partnerships with more nonprofits and community organizations in the area will help connect people to the services they need,” he said.
“Equal Justice Works is proud to facilitate opportunities for law students to help fill the colossal access-to-justice gap in rural communities,” said Aoife Delargy Lowe, director of law school engagement & advocacy at Equal Justice Works. “Andrew is an impressive law student and we are honored to have him join our Rural Summer Legal Corps, where he will help expand legal services for victims of domestic violence at his host organization Utah Legal Services.”