Semester in DC: Alumni Spotlight - Cara Baldari
Cara Baldari completed her J.D. in 2011 after dedicating her law school career to working in the areas of housing and the homeless. Her spring 2011 Semester in D.C. externship was spent with the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (“The Law Center”), a small non-profit advocacy group. After working for a year at Neighborhood Legal Services, Cara had experience and an interesting perspective to bring to her legal and policy assignments at the Law Center. Cara researched and wrote legal memoranda, material fact sheets, letters of support, and papers to maintain funding for national housing programs and the educational rights of homeless children under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. As the first Pitt Law intern to work with the Law Center, she has paved the way for other Pitt Law externs, not only with the Law Center, but also with other reputable non-profits in the D.C. area.
Cara always knew that she did not want to do traditional legal work, and to that end, she focused her sights on Washington, D.C., where she knew she would be surrounded by a lot of young, motivated, passionate people who are practicing law in a non-traditional way. Learning what others were doing and conducting informational interviews during her semester in Washington gave her the necessary insight on a vast array of positions that were available at different organizations in D.C., and ultimately led her to her current career.
Like many Semester in D.C. alumni, Cara landed her first post-graduate job due in part to her participation in the Program. When she saw a posting on Idealist.com for a position she was interested in, she applied and then asked her boss at the Law Center about his experience with the organization. He knew the president and reached out on her behalf. “Getting a direct recommendation from someone they knew, coupled with over four months of full-time advocacy experience in the D.C. market, directly benefitted me in the interview process,” says Cara.
Cara now works as a Policy Research Associate for First Focus, a national bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. There, she works to form national policy on children’s healthcare, , child welfare policy, child nutrition, family homelessness, and poverty.