Allison Kuhns

Name: Allison Kuhns
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Year of Participation: Summer 2018

What was the most valuable thing you learned/accomplished in the program?
During my time as a legal intern at the ACLU of Maine, I was fortunate to see attorneys work for advancing justice in a variety of ways. I had just finished my first year of law school and had minimal experience with the intersection of law and advocacy. The attorneys and staff at the ACLU pursued many projects from myriad angles. Observing and participating in that work expanded my understanding of how lawyers could use their skills and training to pursue progress.

What have you done since being involved in the ACLU program? 
I worked as a student attorney at the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic during the summer and fall of 2019, where I provided free legal representation to qualified clients. I discovered that representation of individual clients provides an opportunity to do incremental work for individual rights. I graduated from the Maine School of Law in May 2020. I am currently employed at a small law firm in Portland where I will be an Associate Attorney, after I am sworn-in to practice law in Maine.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to continue developing my legal skills in representation of individual clients. I would like to use the litigation process, as well as policy-oriented work, to further access to legal assistance for indigent persons. I would also like to participate in programs working to improve legal services and support for individuals with mental illness. I want to see a system established where persons with mental illness are connected with mental health professionals and treatment rather than being directed to law enforcement and incarceration.