Intern Spotlight: Michael Griffin

Michael (center) pictured with staff attorneys Frank Avellone (left) and Noah Magaram (right)

Michael Griffin is a third-year law student at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Looking for litigation experience, Michael found LCBH’s internship posting on the Illinois Legal Aid Online website (http://www.illinoislegalaidonline.org/). As a long-time Chicago renter, he had an interest in landlord-tenant law and thought it would be a good fit. We did too, and Michael joined our team of legal interns in the fall of 2012.

“When I started, I really didn’t know the difference between a motion and a pleading,” recounts Michael. However, Michael was given real cases immediately and was drafting both motions and pleadings within a few weeks. He was encouraged to dive into assignments, learn the procedural and substantive laws, and confer with senior LCBH attorneys who could assist with creating a better work product.

“I really appreciate that I’ve gotten such great practical experience,” said Michael, who recently won his first jury trial (see story this issue). “A lot of attorneys never set foot in a court room, let alone chair and win a jury trial.” LCBH staff attorney Noah Magaram supported Michael’s interests and was soon sending him cases that had jury potential for preparation.”

Michael’s recent jury trial win was one of his many successes while at LCBH. He also wrote the winning brief in a significant appellate court case a few months ago. LCBH staff attorney Frank Avellone, who prefers to view interns as colleagues, trusted Michael’s work, and asked him if he would like to write the brief. “I was excited when I was asked to help. I stayed up that night to write my outline.” tells Michael. Winning this case (see Ms. Foster’s story) was not only a big deal for Michael; it will also help improve the outcomes of other renters in similar situations.

Asked if he would recommend LCBH to his fellow students, Michael said, “I would recommend LCBH for the same reasons I enjoy interning here. You get immediate exposure to substantive litigation practice and you obtain invaluable courtroom experience that includes arguing contested motions and conducting bench and jury trials. If litigation is what you want to do, LCBH is a great place to learn and practice.”

Michael is looking forward to his last year of law school and another year of interning at LCBH. While law is his passion, Michael is also an avid tennis player and he enjoys spending time with his pet schnauzer, Hippo. After graduation he hopes to find work in an area of law that permits him to become a better trial lawyer.