EQUAL JUSTICE WORKS ANNOUNCES 2016 FELLOWSHIP CLASS
Sixty-two recent law school graduates will spend the next two years working to provide legal services to low-income and underserved populations.
Washington, D.C.–Equal Justice Works has announced the 2016 class of Equal Justice Works Fellows. Sixty-two recent law school graduates will spend the next two years working to provide legal services to low-income and underserved populations on issues including immigration, homelessness, education, domestic violence, human trafficking, civil rights, and juvenile justice. This year’s Fellowship competition attracted 337 applicants from law schools across the country.
Of the Fellows selected for the 2016 class, 86 percent are women, 5 percent are of a non-binary gender, 40 percent are persons of color, and 16 percent identify as LGBT.
The 2016 Fellows selected include alumni from 34 law schools who will be working at 52 nonprofit organizations in 17 states and the District of Columbia beginning in the fall. Among this year’s sponsors are 33 leading law firms and 20 Fortune 500 corporations.
“We had an exceedingly strong applicant pool this year, which made it extremely difficult to select just 62 Fellows,” said Equal Justice Works Executive Director David Stern. “There are many extraordinarily talented young lawyers ready and eager to tackle the vast array of unmet legal needs in this country, if given the chance to do so. Our goal is to create these opportunities by increasing the number of Fellowships funded each year.”
The 2016 Fellows have created projects addressing diverse legal issues, including:
- Heather Abraham will work with Legal Services of Northern Michigan in Traverse City, Mich. to offer rural homeless adults and families a fresh start to overcoming poverty by founding a “Street Outreach Court” adapted to resolve common contributors to rural homelessness, such as cumulative fines and bench warrants, and representing low-income renters facing imminent homelessness. Heather is sponsored by contributions from over 200 individuals at the Equal Justice Works Annual Dinner (the Text-to-Give Fellow).
- Matthew Brooks will work with Greater Boston Legal Services in Boston, Mass. to assist low-income people to correct credit reporting errors and fight debt collection abuses so they can work their way out of poverty. Matthew is sponsored by Fidelity Investments and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
- Kena Cador will work with ACLU of Northern California in San Francisco, Calif. to ensure disadvantaged unincorporated communities in California’s Central Valley have equitable access to safe water and other basic municipal services through advocacy, litigation, and public education. Kena is sponsored by Apple, Inc. and O’Melveny & Myers LLP.
- Andrew Hemmer will work with Cabrini Green Legal Aid in Chicago, Ill. to create the Civil Asset Forfeiture Defense Project (CAFDP), which will provide representation to individuals who have had their vehicles impounded due to arrests, stopping further cycles of poverty. Andrew is sponsored by United Airlines, Inc. and Seyfarth Shaw LLP.
- Shiva Prakesh will work with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest in New York to provide legal services to low-income New York City communities developing affordable, reliable and clean energy projects that create local economic development and relieve utility burdens. Shiva is sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.
- Jean Strout will work with Support Center for Child Legal Advocates in Philadelphia, Penn. to provide legal assistance in child welfare, housing, public benefits, and related legal matters to current and former foster youth ages 18 – 21 through walk-in clinics at Philadelphia resource centers. Jean is sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP.
- Andrea Woods will work with the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project in New York to implement a replicable Bail Reform Campaign to replace unnecessary dependence on pretrial detention with smart solutions to incarceration, and protect the rights of poor persons accused of crimes. Andrea is sponsored by The Ottinger Foundation and Intellectual Ventures.
“We are so proud to support and guide this class of dedicated lawyers as they embark on their public interest careers to serve vulnerable communities across the country,” Stern said.
Launched in 1992, the privately funded Equal Justice Works Fellowship Program is the largest postgraduate legal Fellowship program in the country, with 124 Fellows currently working on two-year projects targeting the most crucial needs of the communities they serve. The Fellowships are 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.
Click here for a full list of the 2016 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.