Working with Georgia Justice Project (GJP) changed me in ways I didn't expect. From interviewing potential clients in local jails and prisons, counseling citizens who are striving to overcome barriers to success because of a mistake they made years ago, speaking with GA Supreme Court Justices about legal reform, working in the same neighborhood where MLK, Jr. grew up, witnessing GJP clients defy the odds -- to collaborating with colleagues on how our daily work intersects with, and challenges, our ideals -- this internship was transformative.
My internship at GJP gave me a glimpse into how the "law," a concept that is largely abstract, and decoupled from its application to human beings in the law school environment, is applied to people living in metro Atlanta. To be sure, I learned about Georgia law and criminal procedure, but the more valuable lesson I learned was how GJP approaches this work. How one sustainably and healthily does public interest work is more art than science. It requires creativity, resilience, and an understanding of one's limitations. This is the thing we can't grasp in a traditional law school setting.
The GJP team is energetic, optimistic, and committed despite being in the trenches on a daily basis fighting the good fight against an oppressive, and frustratingly complicated, legal system. If you're asking yourself: where can I go to take action, to somehow channel the frustration, anger, grief, and energy I feel towards something redemptive, constructive, and creative? Look no further. GJP is a place where you can embody the change you want to see in the world, or at the very least, better understand the darkness imposed by our legal apparatus. GJP is a place where you can, in the words of the late civil rights leader John Lewis, "get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”
- Lindsey Kirchhoff, Summer 2022 GJP Legal Intern