57 New Equal Justice Works Fellows Selected to Protect Rights of Our Nation's Most Vulnerable
Washington, D.C.– Equal Justice Works®, the nation’s premier nonprofit placing law students and new attorneys in public interest law opportunities, is proud to announce the 2013 Class of Equal Justice Works Fellows. Fifty-seven recent law school graduates have received the coveted fellowships 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 425 applicants from law schools across the country, an 18 percent increase over last year. The resulting 57 fellowships are up from 50 last year.
The 2013 Fellows have created projects addressing diverse legal issues, including:
- Leo Flor,who will work with Northwest Justice Project in Seattle to build enduring capacity in Washington State for free civil representation of criminal justice-involved veterans;
- Corey Prachniak,who will fight unjust barriers to and gaps in health care coverage for aging, low-income people who are LGBT, HIV-positive, or both at Whitman-Walker Health Legal Services Program in Washington, D.C.;
- Kelsey Ripper, who will provide comprehensive legal services that enable disadvantaged New York City communities to develop urban agriculture as a source of affordable fresh food and a tool for economic development at Lawyers Alliance for New York;.
- Maria Ignacia Rodriguez,who will work at the National Immigration Law Center in Los Angeles, CA to help low-income immigrant youth and children access education, health care, and other state benefits; and
- Krista Selnau,who will work at Legal Aid of Arkansas to create a Medical-Legal Partnership that will provide legal advocacy and outreach to low-income disabled children and their families at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
The Class of 2013 comes from 36 law schools and will be working at 51 nonprofit organizations in 11 states and the District of Columbia beginning in the fall. The nonprofit organizations that will host fellows range from Public Counsel in Los Angeles and Equip for Equality in Chicago, to the Urban Justice Center in New York and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. Among the sponsors are 26 leading law firms and 17 Fortune 500 corporations. Of the 57 fellows in the Class of 2013, 72 percent are women, 32 percent are minorities, 16 percent are LGBT, and 61 percent are bilingual, speaking languages including Spanish, French, American Sign Language, Mandarin Chinese, Hakkan Chinese, Korean, Bengali, Arabic, and Russian.
“The caliber of our applicant pool gets better every year, making it extremely challenging to select just 57 fellows,” said Equal Justice Works Executive Director David Stern. “We are looking to increase the number of fellowships funded every year because we face a vast array of unmet legal needs in this country and there are many extraordinarily talented new agents of change prepared to address those needs, if only given the chance to do so. 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.”
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.
View a complete list of 2013 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 www.equaljusticeworks.org.