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50 Law Graduates Receive Coveted Fellowships to Help Those in Need: Equal Justice Works Announces Fellowship Class of 2012

(June 12, 2012) Washington, D.C. – Equal Justice Works®, the nation’s premier nonprofit focused on placing attorneys in public interest law opportunities, is proud to announce the 2012 Class of Equal Justice Works Fellows.  Fifty law school graduates have been selected as recipients of 2012 Equal Justice Works Fellowships and will spend the next two years providing legal services to underserved populations facing issues ranging from human trafficking and domestic violence, to homelessness, civil rights and equal access to education. This year’s fellowship competition attracted 360 applicants from law schools across the country.


The Equal Justice Works Fellowship program is the largest postgraduate legal fellowship program in the nation, with nearly 100 Fellows working across the country each year to provide legal assistance to those who could not otherwise afford it. Equal Justice Works Fellows design their fellowship projects with nonprofit organizations, targeting the most crucial needs of the communities they serve.  Funding for Equal Justice Works Fellowships is provided by donations from law firms, corporations and foundations from around the country.


The 2012 class of Fellows have created projects that will address diverse legal issues, including: Nicole Weitnauer, who will work with Catholic charities and Immigration Services in Atlanta to help immigrant victims of human trafficking and crime and train law enforcement agencies on available immigrant victim relief resources; in San Francisco, Austin Baumgarten will assist veterans and service members whose psychiatric disabilities have resulted in negative military discharges and loss of benefits; Rajan Sonik will lead the effort to improve the health and education outcomes of low-income children with sickle-cell disease at the Medical-Legal Partnership Boston; Karla Altmayer will work at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago to provide legal representation and advocacy to female farm workers who have endured sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the agriculture industry; and Nicholas Levenhagen will work at Bet Tzedek in Los Angeles to provide Holocaust survivors with services and education to ensure that they may live out their lives with dignity.


“More than ever, our country needs those who have the knowledge, ability, and dedication to lead our country towards a more just and fair society,” said Equal Justice Works Executive Director David Stern. “With these Fellows, we are confident that we have selected 50 agents of change. As they embark on their projects, we look forward to the lasting positive impact that they will have on the lives of the communities that they will be serving. These Fellows are passionately dedicated to furthering equal justice for all.”


The 2012 Class of Equal Justice Works Fellows will begin service in the fall, working at 50 host organizations in 14 states and the District of Columbia. The class reflects the great diversity of the public interest community and those whom they will be serving.  Of the fifty 2012 Equal Justice Works Fellows, 86% are women and 40% are minorities, and more than 50% are bilingual, speaking languages including Farsi, Portuguese, Mandarin, Yoruba, Russian and Arabic.


View a complete list of 2012 Fellows, their projects and their sponsors here.


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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