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December 01, 2017

2017 Interns and Externs

David Godfrey

(The pdf for the issue in which this article appears is available for download: Bifocal, Vol. 39, Issue 2.)

The Commission on Law and Aging recruits law student interns and externs to do research, writing, and attend briefings. The work of the students helps to expand the scope and speed the pace of the Com­mission’s work. Working with law students allows the Commission to play a role in developing the next generation of elder law attorneys; furthering one of the ABA core goals of improving the profession.

Recruiting law students is an ongoing effort. The Commission participates in many student recruitment events. There are several regional events held annu­ally, such as the Beltway Consortium of Law Schools, George Washington / Georgetown, and the Greater Philadelphia Association of Law Schools. We also participate in on-site programs at law schools, mostly here in Washington, D.C.-area, such as American University, the University of the District of Columbia, Catholic University and Georgetown. This year we did on-site interviewing at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

To ensure that we have adequate staff time for super­vision, we limit ourselves to two students per semes­ter. While the law students get a lot of work done, oversight takes time. We develop and assign projects, provide meaningful feedback and do evaluations. The primary goal is development of the law student. For the spring and fall semester, the students are generally in our office 12-15 hours per week. Summer students are full time, being in the office 35-40 hours per week.

Many students earn academic credit for their work with us, others are purely volunteers. With all stu­dents, our focus is on the student learning, developing skills and making good use of the student’s time. We also provide networking opportunities for the stu­dents. And, of course, the work of the students helps the Commission to advance its programs and research.

In 2017 we hosted five students.


Courtney Arnold, was a second-year law student at American University, Wash­ington College of Law, Wash­ington, D.C., and worked with Erica Wood on guardianship issues.


Kimberly Smith, was an LLM student at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. She earned her JD from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, and is admitted to practice in New York, and Massachusetts. She worked with Charlie Sabatino on health care decision-making issues.


Richard W. Sandza, was a second-year law student at David A. Clarke School of Law, at the University of the District of Columbia, he also has an MS in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism; he graduated from the U.S. Army Rotary Wing Flight School, and earned his BS at Fordham Universi­ty‘s Gabelli School of Business. Richard was a journal­ist and publisher for many years before following his passion to attend law school. He worked with David Godfrey and Charlie Sabatino on health care decision-making, and digital asset issues.


Daniel J. DeNicuolo, was a second-year law student at Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law, in Philadel­phia, Pennsylvania. He earned his B.S. in Environmental Sci­ence: Sustainable Technology Development from the University of Delaware. He worked with Erica Wood on guardianship and Social Security issues.

Carissa Peterson, was a second-year law student at Antonin Scalia Law School, at George Mason Uni­versity, Fairfax, VA. Carissa earned her BA from San Francisco State University, and was a researcher at Western University in London, Ontario. She worked with David Godfrey on legal service issues and Charlie Sabatino on Constitutional issues regarding advance directives and physician aid in dying.

For spring 2018, we expect to host another George­town LLM student. Recruiting is underway for summer and fall 2018.

David Godfrey