March 25, 2016 – Max Trinidad’s experience in the public service sector earned the second-year University of Houston Law Center student an internship in the Office of the Chair at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C.
“I have a big interest in working on discrimination of protected classes,” Trinidad said, “which is what led me to want to work with EEOC.”
Trinidad previously served as a judicial extern for U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore of the Southern District of Texas during the summer following his first year of law school. He also worked with the non-profit Texas Appleseed in Austin and served an externship in the Houston field office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the fall of 2015, which reinforced his passion to fight discrimination.
“The position in Chair Jenny R. Yang’s office was an exciting opportunity made possible by the national networking efforts of Law Center Dean Leonard Baynes,” said Trinidad.
“The opportunity to work in Yang’s office is unique as opposed to a field office or district office, since it is less enforcement and more policy focused,” he noted. “I jumped on it as soon I saw the opportunity available.”
Trinidad’s favorite experience was when Yang and President Obama spoke to the nation about EEOC’s new emphasis on bridging the gender pay gap, an initiative spearheaded by the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Although he was not at the White House with Yang, he said he could feel the electricity in the office when the announcement was made.
Trinidad also works on employment policy research with Yang’s senior attorney advisors, attends staff meetings with Yang and her counsel, and reviews items up for commission vote, such as subpoenas from district and field offices.
“It is a great experience seeing high level policies in the making,” he said. “I’ve been looking at different subpoena orders from offices, putting in my own recommendations to the senior council and to Yang, making sure proper procedure is followed.”
Trinidad said he felt well backgrounded in employment discrimination law when he started his internship, which will run through May.
“I took Professor (Ronald) Turner’s employment law class and when I got my first assignment at EEOC, I was definitely really prepared,” he said. “I did not have to look up a lot, and I knew from the beginning the cases that were being cited and the cases that I was reading.”
“For those interested in policy while having a real impact on society no matter what side of the aisle you are on,” Trinidad said, “D.C. is the place to go.”