Noah DeSimone, a 3L at Drexel University Kline School of Law who grew up in the Philadelphia area, plans to pursue a career in public service after graduation. He got a head-start over the summer by interning with the Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit at Philadelphia’s Office of the City Solicitor.
“You don’t really think that zoning is a life or death sort of thing, but it’s really important,” said DeSimone, who studied urban pre-planning as an undergraduate. “People’s lives are at stake.”
The opportunity arose thanks to the Carl “Tobey” Oxholm Summer Fellowship, which for 15 years and counting has awarded a stipend and internship at Philadelphia’s Law Department to 2Ls committed to public service.
Working in the License and Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit gave DeSimone an unparalleled view of the inner-workings of city government and the Law Department, and hands-on experience. Among other responsibilities, he researched and wrote legal memos for his colleagues, assisted in a child welfare case and sat in on a civil rights case in federal court. He also spoke in Philadelphia Municipal Court and before the Philadelphia Board of License and Inspection Review.
Throughout the internship DeSimone took his cues from Desjeneé Davis, JD ’21, assistant city solicitor and the 2020 Oxholm Fellow. Davis spoke highly of DeSimone. “He was very interested in the work that we were doing, always asking the right questions [about] things he was being taught in terms of the code, the procedures, how to handle particular cases when different scenarios and facts come up,” she said.
This fall DeSimone continues his exploration of the public sector with a co-op experience at the U.S. Department of Labor in Cherry Hill, N.J. There, he works with the 2014 Oxholm Fellow, Eric Bergel, JD ’14, who serves as an attorney advisor and leads the Department of Labor’s internship program.
“I definitely put my passion into it, because I recognize how much of a leg up the co-op program gave to me,” Bergel said. “I want to give that to every student who comes in that door, whether they’re from Drexel or another university. ”
Bergel said students like DeSimone can expect to assist judges and attorneys in a wide scope of long and short-term assignments: researching a specific statute or case background, writing legal memos on more comprehensive court proceedings, fielding Freedom of Information Act requests, and fact-checking for grammar and logical consistency in court arguments.
“We find that it’s good for law students to look at the bigger decisions to come out, because they’re coming at it from a blank slate,” Bergel said. “The questions they have might be things we haven’t considered, or maybe something we overlooked.”
The Oxholm Summer Fellowship is funded by a gift from former Drexel Senior Vice President and General Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III. This year, for the first time, two students will be awarded fellowships and participate in the program.
“Tobey Oxholm’s generosity fosters a network of public interest-minded lawyers and provides meaningful training for the next generation of legal talent,” said Donna Gerson, associate dean for career strategies at the law school. “We’re especially grateful that in 2023, Tobey’s gift will double to provide funding for two second-year law students. The Oxholm Fellows are a model for making public service careers a reality for today’s law graduates.”
Oct. 3: Attend the 7th Annual Oxholm Colloquium on Public Service
Enjoy a keynote address by Nan Feyler, JD, MPH, former Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Noah DeSimone, the 2022 Oxholm Fellow, will speak about his summer internship experience. A reception will follow the colloquium. Register.
Oct. 6: Meet the Philadelphia City Solicitor, Diana Cortes
Students are encouraged to attend this event to learn more about hiring opportunities and careers beyond the City Law Department. Register.
Oct 16: Apply for the 2023 Oxholm Summer Fellowship
The deadline to apply for the 2023 Oxholm Fellowship is October 16. This year, for the first time, two students will be selected. Apply.