Unemployment Law Project
Karen A. Marin works as a law clerk intern at the Unemployment Law Project, an organization dedicated to providing free legal services to the citizens of Washington State who are challenging denials of their unemployment benefits. As a law clerk, Karen obtains hands-on experience in interviewing clients and witnesses, researching in preparation for administrative hearings, representing clients in administrative hearings, and filing petition for reviews if necessary. Through this opportunity, Karen is able to assist individuals in navigating the legal administrative process and is able to help vulnerable individuals who may not be able to afford an attorney to challenge their rights to unemployment benefits.
Karen was born and raised in Espana, San Fernando, Romblon, Philippines. She and her family moved to the United States in 2001. She obtained her undergraduate degree from University of Washington in Social Work, with a minor in Japan Studies.
July 3, 2012
It has been a great learning opportunity to work for the Unemployment Law Project. These past five weeks have been an amazing experience, both in gaining practical skills and helping individuals receive their much needed and well-deserved benefits.
In the last five weeks, I have done countless client interviews with length ranging from as short as 30 minutes to as long as two hours. Some clients and cases are as simple as a piece of cake, while others are complex and hard as a nail. During the times when I am struggling to keep my clients engaged and focused on the purpose of the interview, I make sure to pause and think that they have been going through a difficult time in their lives, trying to make ends meet, and being intimidated by the legal administrative process.
I came to the Unemployment Law Project to help people in need navigate through the legal system. I am happy to say that I see that purpose becoming a reality. As a volunteer law clerk, I see the end product of my assistance. For instance, I remember exactly how happy and accomplished I felt when I received my very first winning case decision and when I heard the excitement in my client’s voice after hearing the good news. I look forward to more wins and hopefully, no loss or losses.
Not only I am able to use the practical skills I gained from school, but also I am able to utilize my language skills. I have had a client interview and have translated documents in Tagalog. This is truly inspiring because I am able to reconnect with fellow Filipinos here in the United States through the work I do today.
So far, the Unemployment Law Project has given me an opportunity to develop and gain practical legal skills and at the same time, has allowed me to make a difference in people’s lives.
July 29, 2012
The past ten weeks at the Unemployment Law Project have been a great opportunity to serve the legal profession and to make a difference in the lives of others.
This amazing experience has given me ample opportunities to develop the practical skillsets needed to become a better advocate. Both the staff attorney and the director at ULP are great teachers. They have made my summer internship filled with enthusiasm and encouragement.
Also, working for ULP has been an inspiring experience. The ULP has been a hub of many volunteers, from attorneys to law students to undergraduate students. Even though this organization has limited funding, the enormous support from the legal and educational community allows this organization to continue helping many individuals who have been at a disadvantage.
Further, this position has allowed me to see the results of my work. It is a very rewarding experience to help and represent each client to the administrative hearings. First, the administrative decisions are issued a few days after the hearing. Second, the experience parallels litigation and court representation. There are opportunities to direct and cross examine witnesses, subpoena records as part of discovery, write petitions for review to appeal ALJ decisions, and most importantly, to successfully advocate for the individuals who are in great need of financial assistance.
This experience had given me the opportunity to achieve my goals this summer and far exceeded my expectations. More importantly, this experience is humbling. I am thankful for this opportunity and appreciate the staff and the attorneys who have been patient with me and made this experience educational and enjoyable.