Matthew Lawlyes, a Liberal Studies major, interned with the Project in Spring 2011. Fulfilling a requirement within the Liberal Studies curriculum, Matthew attended a speech given by Dr. Larry Golden and Bill Clutter. This first introduction to the Illinois Innocence Project sparked his curiosity and led him to be a volunteer with the program before doing his internship.
Matt designed his degree around substance abuse, social work, poverty, and legal studies. Once he completes law school he would like to be involved in reshaping legislative policy for substance abuse systems nationally.Interning with IIP not only gave Matthew hands on experience in legal practice, but it allowed him to actually have a direct effect upon the criminal justice system. In choosing an internship, Matthew valued the opportunity to play an important role in the evaluation and examination of wrongful conviction cases.
Shortly after Matthew’s arrival, the IIP received of the Bloodsworth Grant, providing significant funding for post-conviction DNA testing. This grant has dramatically increased the number of cases the DIIP can investigate, but those cases must be thoroughly analyzed, researched, and evaluated. Matthew assisted in reviewing potentially wrongful conviction cases with the hope that his work will eventually aid in a client’s exoneration. He also helped create the Intake Database that the Project currently uses to keep track of all of their intake information.
Matt studied law at the University of Minnesota Law School.