Austin Graham, Esq. of Easton Md. and now Alexandria, Va. interned with Mid-Shore Pro Bono in 2013 when he was between his first and second years of study at William and Mary Law School.
Graham is a 2008 Easton High School graduate and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina in 2012. He served as University of South Carolina Lions Club President for two years, with the organization primarily raising money for charities that benefit people with blindness. Graham earned his Juris Doctorate from William and Mary Law School in 2015.
Now Graham is a lawyer with the Federal Election Commission, working in Washington, D.C. with commissioners on administrative and enforcement matters related to congressional and presidential campaigns. He finds his joy in following politics, golfing, hiking, and coming home to the Eastern Shore as much as possible.
Before his work with the FEC, Graham served as legal counsel for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit with a mission to secure Americans’ rights to responsive government and a fair opportunity to participate in and affect the democratic process.
Graham says the internship allowed him to build an incredible network of local people working in law while gaining experience working on a broad and diverse range of civil legal issues. He says one of the most rewarding aspects of his Mid-Shore Pro Bono internship was helping people solve their legal problems, big or small.
“Mid-Shore Pro Bono provides a critical service, with pro bono legal counsel helpful to people of modest means, or who may otherwise not be able to afford a lawyer,” says Graham. “As an Eastern Shore native, I especially appreciate how Mid-Shore Pro Bono serves the Shore community, helping real people with very real problems.”
“Interning at MSPB was my first experience applying my legal education and skills in the real world,” says Graham. “My internship also prepared me with a hands-on introduction to a wide range of the often-tricky issues attorneys encounter.”
Since the time of Graham’s internship, Mid-Shore Pro Bono has launched its Sandy Brown Public Interest Internship—a donor-funded program to help provide stipends to interns and named after former Mid-Shore Pro Bono Executive Director Sandy Brown, who stepped down from the position in 2021.
“Sandy Brown is an invaluable resource to me and one that I’ve kept since my internship and throughout my legal career,” says Graham. “The new internship program carrying her name is a fitting tribute to an incredibly positive, kind, thoughtful, and patient leader.”
The new internship program provides undergraduate and law school students like Austin with a stipend while learning in the areas of public interest law, non-profit management, community service, and basic work experience. The program provides students with hands-on experiences working with rural, underserved, populations lacking the same resources as urban areas.
“Graham’s career path clearly speaks to the power of getting work experience in the field of public interest law,” said Mid-Shore Pro Bono Executive Director Meredith Lathbury Girard, Esq. “Our interns have the personal and career benefits of experiencing early on how rewarding work is when you are helping society.”
Mid-Shore Pro Bono is dedicated to helping Maryland’s Eastern Shore residents obtain access to legal assistance. The nonprofit delivers a mission to ensure equal access to legal assistance in local communities with offices in Easton, Chestertown, and Salisbury. More information and online donations to the internship fund are at www.midshoreprobono.org.