Serving the community is ingrained in many Rhodes students’ experiences. Whether it be routine volunteering or service trips during breaks, students are constantly finding new ways to assist those who need it most. Senior Korey Henkle is doing so in his internship with the Community Legal Center (CLC), which was established in 1994 and is located in downtown Memphis. The economics and international studies bridge major originally signed up for the internship for academic credit but has since found new areas of interest and guidance.
Interested in pursuing law after graduation, Henkle turned to Rhodes’ Career Services for assistance in selecting an internship and was referred to the CLC, which provides legal aid for low-income Memphians who might not otherwise be able to find affordable legal assistance. Attorneys offer a variety of pro bono legal services.
On any given day, Henkle is tasked with providing technological and processing support as well as translating official documents from Spanish to English. Says Henkle, “I have taken two Spanish courses at Rhodes, which have helped me increase my written and oral proficiency, and I have also developed my oral skills working with my father’s construction company as a translator.”
Regarding some of CLC’s civil cases, Henkle’s work has involved uncontested divorces, guardianship hearings, and landlord/tenant disputes. For these types of cases, Henkle assesses and determines whether or not the CLC will be able to handle them based on their case guidelines. One area of law that has sparked his interest is the Immigrant Justice Program, which helps immigrants keep their statuses up to date.
“Being able to see my own direct impact and the potential for any community member to have a direct impact on legal issues that otherwise seem ambiguous or abstract has been the most rewarding part for me.” As for the academic aspect of the internship, Henkle has been preparing a final paper, which has allowed him to reflect on the experience and consider the practice of immigration law first hand. His paper will be evaluated by Prof. Elizabeth Pettinaroli, director of Latin American Studies at Rhodes.
Henkle also has had the opportunity to work with Rhodes alumna Anne Mathes, who is the current CEO of the CLC. Mathes says her time at Rhodes and the college’s emphasis on critical thinking prepared her for this role as head of a non-profit, as did her 30-year law career. Something that she has seen in Henkle and other Rhodes interns has been a consistently strong work ethic and genuine interest in doing all they can do to assist Memphians in need of their help.
Henkle adds that his internship has been a meaningful one. “Working for equitable justice is a goal of mine that has been instilled in me through my experiences at the CLC.”
By Lizzie Choy ’17