Alumni Updates

Reflections From 2022 Bill Grimm Memorial Summer Law & Policy Clerks

Collage of three portrait photographs; Madelyn Cox-Guerra, Wendy Garcia-Nava, and Amelia Isaacs


Madelyn Cox-Guerra

Law Clerk, Justice & Equity Team

  Portrait photograph of Madelyn Cox-Guerra

Wendy Garcia-Nava

Law Clerk, Immigration

  Portrait photograph of Wendy Garcia-Nava

Amelia Isaacs

Policy Clerk, Compassionate Education Systems

  Portrait photograph of Amelia Isaacs

















We asked a few of our 2022 Bill Grimm Memorial Summer Law & Policy Clerks to reflect on their summers, and here’s what they shared:

Favorite memory from the summer?

MCG: Getting the opportunity to meet and bond with the other law clerks online. It can be difficult to connect with people over Zoom, but NCYL ensured clerks had an online social meeting space and also facilitated team building during staff meetings. 

WGN: Volunteering at Soccer Without Borders with Neha, Melissa, and Diane. I enjoyed learning more about how the program helps children and their families build community and how it provides a place for children to have fun.

AI: Attending the weekly seminars. I loved being able to get a glimpse at the work NCYL does pertaining to mental health, youth justice, and family defense.

A challenge you overcame and how?

WGN: During my week of 'requests for assistance', there was a caller that NCYL was unable to assist, but that kept calling and leaving voicemails because we were the first organization to listen to their concerns. I initially struggled because I wished I could be there for them as they told me their story. But after discussing the call with my supervisor, I realized that the best way we could help was by being honest, remind them that we are unable to assist, and instead encourage them to contact the referral we provided so they could rapidly get the legal assistance they needed.

AI: One challenge I overcame during my time as NCYL was researching foster youth in special education. After finding that the research on foster youth in special education was sparse, I worked with my supervisor to contact the CDE for more information.

Lesson you learned that you’ll take with you back to school/onto your next opportunity?

MCG: Having previously worked in direct aid, learning about litigation development was a truly transformative experience. I had to rewire the way I thought about legal research. Instead of examining rigid rules, I was also trying to examine creative methods of applying the rules to evaluate potential litigation hooks. Learning an entirely new way to look at the law was an incredible new skill, and I am so excited to bring this creativity into my legal research and writing projects this year.

WGN: Remember your target audience. Being in law school, we are often taught to write for the court or other legal professionals. While working on factsheets for sponsors, however, I had to constantly remind myself of the target audience and how to effectively transmit the necessary information in a way that they could understand. This is especially helpful for being able to switch in thinking how we interact with clients and how we interact with the courts.

AI: The importance of taking the initiative to create the experiences that you want. Although I was a Policy Clerk, I was able to speak with my supervisor to attend some meetings that the Law Clerks did to experience some of the work they did over the summer.

How has your experience at NCYL influenced your future plans?

MCG: I am excited to continue working with NCYL this fall as part of the Legal Advocacy Team. This clerkship has confirmed my dedication to youth advocacy, and my commitment to pursuing a public interest career.

WGN: Prior to NCYL I knew little about impact litigation or the field of immigration. After learning about the field from a site visit and the work I was able to assist with, I decided to further pursue immigration as a potential career option. This semester I am in the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic where I hope to gain practical experience.

AI: NCYL has affirmed my decision to go to law school. The advice that I have received from NCYL staff Mishan Wroe, Taylor Jones, and Dan Senter has been invaluable in showing me the rewarding, albeit difficult, nature of being a lawyer.