Sound Legal Advocacy, LLC
Gig Harbor, Wash.
Tyler Farmer is an intern at Sound Legal Advocacy, LLC (SLA) based in Gig Harbor, Wash. While SLA is the general, solo practice of attorney Emily Howlett, Farmer will focus on Indian Law and perform legal work for indigent Indian clients.
July 1, 2013
I started my internship by helping the principal attorney (Ms. Howlett) draft and edit an appellate case brief that was submitted to the Chehalis Appellate Court on June 1. This matter concerned a criminal conviction in Chehalis trial court and is now under review for appeal on procedural grounds under federal law and the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA). For this project I reviewed ICRA — passed by Congress in 1968 — along with amended, current federal law affecting Indian rights.
Currently, I am involved with assisting the preparation for and performance in a weeks-long child dependency trial in the Superior Court of Tacoma. This matter concerns tribal and non-tribal parenting rights along with Washington State Child Protective Services implications. I assist by taking notes during witness testimony, performing document production, reviewing and helping prepare cross-examination questioning, and other general tasks during trial.
The work I am doing helps both SLA and its clients. My involvement is helpful to the attorney by saving her time throughout the summer. By allowing me to do research and draft or edit documents relevant to her pro bono or low bono cases, the attorney is freed to work on other pressing matters. Further, by having more resources available to aid clients, SLA is able to more efficiently serve low-income clients. This results in serving clients better and possibly by allowing SLA to take on more clients that are unable to afford full-priced legal representation. My involvement is also helpful to the firm's clients by increasing the number of law-trained individuals working on their cases.
Through my experience with SLA this summer, I am learning the day-to-day duties of a general practice trial attorney who also has a substantial public interest focus. While my career after law school is far from certain, I think a small or medium-sized law firm might be the best fit for me because of the freedom allowed to work with clients and I also want to have the flexibility to offer low-income residents legal services they might not be able to afford.
Over the summer I have been fortunate to be given responsibilities uncommon of 1L interns, such as drafting motions and appellate case briefs along with directly assisting in trial. Working with Ms. Howlett enables me to quickly experience what it means to run a law practice, be a litigator, work in the niche arena of Indian Law, and offer indigent clients legal assistance.