Sixty-one recent law school graduates will spend the next two years working to provide legal services to low-income and underserved populations
Washington, D.C.—July 8, 2014—Equal Justice Works® today announced the 2014 class of Equal Justice Works Fellows. Sixty-one recent law school graduates have received the coveted Fellowship positions and will spend the next two years working to provide legal services to low-income and underserved populations on issues including veterans’ rights, immigration, homelessness, education, domestic violence, human trafficking, civil rights, and juvenile justice. This year’s Fellowship competition attracted 477 applicants from law schools across the country. The resulting 61 Fellowships are an increase from 57 last year.
The 2014 class of Fellows includes alumni from 36 law schools who will be working at 54 nonprofit organizations in 15 states and the District of Columbia beginning in the fall. Among the sponsors are 28 leading law firms and 19 Fortune 500 corporations. Of the 61 Fellows in the Class of 2014, 73 percent are women, 40 percent are ethnic minorities, and 10 percent are LGBT.
“Each year the caliber of our applicant pool gets stronger, which makes it extremely difficult to select just 61 Fellows,” said Equal Justice Works Executive Director David Stern. “Our goal is to increase the number of Fellowships funded since we face a vast array of unmet legal needs in this country. There are many extraordinarily talented change agents ready and willing to tackle those needs, if only given the chance to do so.”
The 2014 Fellows have created projects addressing diverse legal issues, including:
· Jessica Kleinman, who will work with Children’s Law Center in Washington, D.C. to provide legal services, outreach, and advocacy to low-income families in Washington, D.C. who are confronting health-harming legal barriers to managing their child’s asthma by extending Children Law Center’s medical-legal partnership with Children’s National Health System.
· Nicholas Leonard, who will work with Great Lakes Environmental Law Center in Detroit, to provide legal counseling, transactional services, and direct legal representation to nonprofit entities, community organizations, and low-income persons working in various phases of urban agriculture
· Alicia LeVezu, who will work with the University of Washington School of Law, Clinical Program in Seattle, to provide access to legal representation to youth in the child welfare system
· Justine Pelham, who will work with the Veteran Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York City to advocate for veterans who are improperly denied public benefits by leading a network of law students in providing representation at administrative hearings
· Travis Silva, who will work with Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, to advocate for immigrant children in underserved parts of the Silicon Valley to ensure full and equal access to education while challenging systemic barriers to educational equality in the region
“We are proud to support and guide this class of lawyers committed to furthering justice for all as they embark on their public interest legal careers,” Stern said.
Launched in 1992, the Equal Justice Works Fellowship Program is the largest postgraduate legal Fellowship program in the country, with nearly 100 Fellows currently working on two-year projects they designed with nonprofit organizations, targeting the most crucial needs of the communities they serve. The Fellowships are privately funded by the generous support of law firms, corporations, foundations, and individual donors. Many of the law firms and corporate legal departments utilize their sponsorship to expand their pro bono opportunities, encouraging their legal and non-legal staff to help provide needed services to those who could not otherwise afford them. Seventeen of these Fellowships, or nearly one-third of the class, are being sponsored by funding partnerships between law firms and their corporate clients.
Click here for a full list of the 2014 Equal Justice Works Fellows.
Equal Justice Works is the national leader in creating public interest opportunities for law students and lawyers. Collaborating with the nation’s leading law schools, law firms, corporate legal departments, and nonprofit organizations, Equal Justice Works offers a continuum of opportunities that provide the training and skills that enable attorneys to provide effective representation to underserved communities and causes. Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For additional information about Equal Justice Works, please visit www.equaljusticeworks.org.