Summer Job Spotlight: Zoe Psiakis, 2L, Anishinabe Legal Services

August 20, 2020

Zoe Psiakis, 2L, has a summer clerkship with Anishinabe Legal Services (ALS), which provides legal services to low-income residents of the Leech Lake, White Earth, and Red Lake Reservations (Cass, Hubbard, Beltrami, Clearwater, Mahnomen, Becker, and Itasca counties). Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Psiakis has gotten to work on-site with real-life clients, an opportunity that she has found to be invaluable.

How did you connect with this summer opportunity?
I applied, interviewed, and was offered my summer job through the Minnesota Justice Foundation Clerkship program.

Please describe a “typical” day on the job.
A typical day involves meeting with and contacting clients, working with staff attorneys on cases, reviewing documents and records, assisting pro se parties with paperwork, and preparing affidavits, memos, and exhibits to submit to the court on behalf of our clients. I also sit in on trials when possible!

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your summer experience?
I am grateful to be working in person! I meet with clients, but with precautions and by appointment only. (ALS normally has many walk-ins). I have also spent limited time in court, because tribal courts and rural state courts have fewer judges and took longer to resume hearing civil matters.

How has your summer experience compared with your expectations?
It has completely exceeded my expectations, especially considering the pandemic. I could not have asked for a better office environment or better coworkers! I knew I would gain legal knowledge, but the practical knowledge and mentorship I have received here has taught me more than I ever could have expected.

What advice would you offer another law student thinking about working in a similar position next summer?
Be flexible and open to anything! I am working in a place and area of law I never would have expected, but that I have absolutely loved. I have also learned the most from the difficult clients that I was able to opt out of working with but chose to!

How does your experience connect with what you currently envision doing with your law degree?
I plan to work in public interest with my law degree, whether that be in civil legal aid or as a public defender. I also hope to serve rural populations, so this experience aligns directly with my goals and has reaffirmed that this is the work I want to do!

These are stressful times. What are you doing for wellness to de-stress?
I have been spending as much time outside as I can, and try to get out and walk, rollerblade, or hike when I am feeling especially stressed. I also play soccer with my roommates here a few times a week which really helps me take my mind off things!

How are you spending your free time this summer?
I have spent my free time this summer exploring Northern Minnesota! I have done a lot of camping, kayaking, hiking, and swimming in the lakes. I also took a weekend trip to the Boundary Waters with some friends from law school, which was incredible!

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience or about this summer?
I am so grateful to have had this opportunity, and cannot say enough good things about ALS, MJF, or this experience!

Zoe Psiakis, 2L
Zoe Psiakis, 2L

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