Mid-Shore Pro Bono has named Marris Hoffee of Millersburg, Ohio, and Jamnesha ‘Jamie’ Ferguson of Aberdeen, Md. as the nonprofit’s 2023 Sandy Brown Public Interest spring interns.
The paid internship program was established to honor MSPB’s previous executive director Sandy Brown—who stepped down in Dec. 2021—and is supported by the Rural Maryland Council and the Maryland Bar Foundation. The donor-funded program provides undergraduate and law school students with a stipend while learning in the areas of public interest law, non-profit management, community service, and basic work experience.
Marris Hoffee is a legal intern and a 2024 J.D. candidate at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a bachelor’s of arts degree in political science and served as an Ambassador and HR Representative with The Borgen Project in Seattle, Wash., where she worked directly with congressional leaders. Her community service includes working with the Cleveland Legal Aid Society and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Society.
“I have always been passionate about helping people trapped in the poverty cycle,” says Hoffee. “I studied the cycle of poverty in college and went to law school to pursue a career that can bring about effective change for people that are trapped in a system that keeps them struggling.
“My goal is to work with legislators to create and revise laws that affect the working class in employment, housing, and access to medical care,” Hoffee says. “Eventually, I would like to expand upon the mission of Mid Shore Pro Bono and provide access to legal representation on a large scale in America, so I am learning from the ground up how this organization works.
“I truly enjoy researching, learning, and helping the community through MSPB; each day I see the positive effect on the community and it translates into a joyful and fulfilling work environment with great people who share my passions.”
Jamnesha ‘Jamie’ Ferguson is in her final semester studying criminal justice at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, with her grades earning her a Dean’s List designation. Ferguson is active in the Student Government Association, having served as Sophomore Class Senator and Junior Class Vice President. She is an active member of UMES’s Women of Distinction and volunteers with numerous organizations, including Halo Women’s Drive in Princess Anne.
“My future aspirations involve law enforcement, whether that is going to law school to become a lawyer or venturing out to become an FBI agent,” says Ferguson. “My goal is to help people in the community who can’t help themselves.
“My Mid-Shore Pro Bono internship is one of the most rewarding challenges I have faced since attending college,” Ferguson says. “Assisting the volunteer attorneys and staff, seeing how they interact with clients, and providing available resources to ensure clients have the same opportunity to be represented as everyone else is amazing.”
“We’re honored to have Marris and Jamie continuing their education with us,” said Mid-Shore Pro Bono Executive Director Meredith Lathbury Girard. “We’re also grateful to the donors to our Sandy Brown Public Interest Internship fund so that we can provide a stipend to our interns.”
Girard says the nonprofit is uniquely positioned to expose students who are interested in the practice of public interest law, social work, and nonprofit management through hands-on experiences working with rural populations with limited access to financial and other resources.
“This program engages students in a wide range of legal-related experiences in a high quality and well-supervised professional setting,” she says. “And undergraduate students interested in law, justice, and criminal justice as well as other civic-minded careers will be exposed to hands-on experience in these areas as well.”
Mid-Shore Pro Bono delivers a mission of helping Maryland’s Eastern Shore residents obtain access to legal assistance through a network of volunteers, with offices in Easton and Salisbury. Donations to the Sandy Brown Public Interest Internship Fund can be made online using the donate button at www.midshoreprobono.org.
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