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November 01, 2012

COLA’s Robust Internship & Externship Program

The Commission’s internship and externship program provides law students—especially those who may be interested in pursuing a career focusing on law and aging issues—with experience in a nationally known organization in that field. Each student is assigned to produce at least one major publishable product (a report, article, analysis, bibliography, etc.) under the supervision of a staff attorney. In addition, the student assists staff attorneys in researching or monitoring other legal/policy developments or in working on an identifiable component of a larger research or writing project. The 2012 interns and externs produced valuable content through substantive research, furthering the work of the Commission.

Kelly Zeng
Extern, Fall 2012

"I came to the externship with experience in healthcare and medical informatics and my project at the Commission aligned with my interest well. I researched end-of-life care, in particular, Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). Working with the director of the Commission, Charlie Sabatino, a national expert on POLST, I gained valuable insight into the legal, ethical, and religious issues associated with end-of-life care."

Kristen Zearfoss
Extern, Fall 2012

"I’m incredibly grateful for my experience working with the Commission. By interning under Erica Wood and David Godfrey, I supplemented my previous work experience in health care advocacy with their guidance about how the law can be used to advance social service programs. During my internship, I researched and wrote about the responsibilities of lay fiduciaries, consumer fraud, and the role of emeritus attorneys in the legal system. The externship also provided wonderful opportunities to sit in on coalition meetings, allowing me to network with other professionals in the field and to gain an understanding of the essential role that the Commission plays in the broader elder law community."

Samantha Breakstone
Intern, Summer 2012

"For anyone with an interest in issues surrounding law and aging, the opportunity to work with the experts at the Commission is priceless. I came to the Commission on Law and Aging with an interest in the criminal prosecution of elder abuse. I was thus honored to work with Staff Attorney, Lori Stiegel on a paper identifying the barriers to prosecuting criminal elder neglect. The internship gave me the opportunity to develop a publishable work, with the guidance of an expert, in my specific field of interest. It is an ideal internship for any law student interested in the field."

Adrienne Lyon Buenavista
Intern, Summer 2012

"Under the supervision of David Godfrey, I researched liability issues relating to "Villages"—grassroots organizations that provide services to aging adults who want to remain in their own homes. As part of this exploratory research, I interviewed various Village leaders and reviewed Village manuals and policies. My supervisors at the Commission were supportive and encouraged me to broaden my knowledge of elder law issues by attending conferences and trainings."