Minnesota Law

Summer 2023
For the Record

Student Summer Experience: Gavin Rangel, 2L

Gavin Rangel, 2L, is from Germantown, Wisconsin. He completed his undergraduate degree at American University in Washington, D.C. This summer, he worked at Philadelphia VIP, a nonprofit that matches low-income Philadelphians with pro bono attorneys. This year, he will participate in the environmental moot court, the criminal defense clinic, and will serve on the board of the Criminal Justice League. He will also serve as a Law School Ambassador for U Link.

Gavin Rangel, 2L

 How did you connect with or find this summer opportunity?

I found it online! I knew I wanted to work in Philadelphia this summer, so I looked for organizations that were partnered with the Pennsylvania Bar Association and applied from VIP’s website.


How does your experience connect with what you currently envision doing with your law degree?

The different areas of law I’ve been working in this summer (housing, estate planning, family) are interests of mine in the long term, so this summer has offered invaluable experiences that have allowed me to figure out what I like and don’t like about each.


Please describe a “typical” workday on the job.

It changed throughout the summer! In the beginning it was a lot of client intake: figuring out what paperwork we needed from them, getting the proper information that a pro bono attorney may need, putting together a case file, etc. Towards the end of the summer, it was a lot of pitching my client’s cases to potential volunteer attorneys. This involved calling, emailing, and finding other ways to connect with potential volunteers and hopefully having them take on a pro bono case.


What is something you learned or experienced that was surprising or particularly compelling during this summer position?

I was surprised at how many homes are generational in Philadelphia. Often when I spoke to clients who were seeking a title transfer to their name, the house had been in their family for 3, 4, even 5 generations.

What are a couple of your key takeaways from the experience so far?

First, this opportunity has allowed me to confirm that I love working in the public sector and hope to continue to do so with my law degree. Second, I am interested in getting into court more, as I spent this summer on the more transactional side of the law.

How has your summer experience compared with your expectations?

I didn’t know what to expect coming into the summer. I knew I wouldn’t be in court much, if at all, and that I would be doing a lot of client intake but that was about it. As the summer progressed I was able to learn a lot about how to best interact with clients, and more about the different areas of law I was working in. Overall, this summer definitely exceeded expectations.

What advice would you offer another law student thinking about working in a similar position next summer?

Take advantage of everything. I was able to have great experiences both during the work day, as well as outside of the office through events and opportunities that working at VIP allowed me to go to. Some of them are just fun, while some of them may push your career in a different direction than you may have thought. Your supervisors want to see you succeed, so take advantage of every opportunity they present you with!


How are you spending your free time this summer?

When I was in Philadelphia, I spent a lot of time exploring the city with my friends from the area and trying to take in everything the area had to offer. I moved remotely halfway through the summer, so since then I’ve been spending lots of time with friends and family, golfing, and going to baseball games.


What are you most looking forward to in returning to Minnesota Law this fall?

I am especially excited for both the Environmental Moot Court and Criminal Defense Clinic I’ll be involved in, as well as reconnecting with friends I haven’t been able to see this summer.