A fellowship of public interest: Harvard Law Students receive support to work in public service

Students at Harvard Law School receive a number of impressive fellowships and scholarships each year to work in the public sector and on research projects in foreign countries.

Harvard Law School students have access to many sources of funding for public interest work through the law school, the larger university and hundreds of fellowships available outside of Harvard for postgraduate and summer funding.

The law school offers one-year fully-funded fellowships for students headed into public service careers, and recently established the Public Service Venture Fund, which offers “seed money” for start-up nonprofit ventures and salary support to graduating J.D. students who hope to pursue post-graduate work at nonprofits or government agencies in the United States and abroad.

In addition to those fellowships, so far this academic year, close to 30 students and recent alums have received external scholarships or fellowships to support public interest work on a range of issues, including domestic violence, juvenile justice, consumer fraud, and environmental justice.

Alexa Shabecoff, assistant dean for public service and director of the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising (OPIA), said: “I am thrilled that our students are able to do the public service work of their dreams, despite the difficult entry-level job market, through external fellowships and through HLS’s own fully-funded fellowships. They will be contributing their incredible skills and passions to work that is needed now more than ever, while launching their public service careers. We are fortunate that the combination of our students’ talents, their ability to build strong skills and expertise through the many opportunities available at HLS, and the incredible talents and ceaseless devotion of OPIA’s Fellowships Director Judy Murciano in coaching our students through fellowship applications has made it possible for us to do so well landing fellowships.

While at HLS, many of the students who receive fellowships pursued public interest work through student practice organizations and clinics. In many cases, the clinical and pro bono work that students did during their time at the law school, including during summer and winter terms, has helped them develop their interest in and the skills for the work they plan to pursue post-graduation

Haben Girma ’13

Daniel Saver ’12

In January, four Harvard Law School students, Haben Girma ’13, Hunter Landerholm ’13, Adam Meyers ’13 and Mara Sacks ’13, and two recent graduates, Robert Hodgson ’12 and Daniel Saver ’12, were named Skadden Fellows. Supported by the Skadden Foundation, fellows will receive funding for two years to support public service projects ranging from improving education for students with disabilities to supporting working poor families facing foreclosure. Read more about the 2013 Harvard Law School Skadden Fellows here.

Also this year, six Harvard Law School students and recent graduates received two-year fellowships from Equal Justice Works. Founded by law students in 1986, Equal Justice Works provides funding for new lawyers to design unique projects to assist underserved communities and causes. This year’s Harvard Law School Equal Justice Works Fellows are:

Erica Boyce ’13. Boyce will work with the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust to provide legal assistance, educational outreach, and ADR training to small-scale, independent commercial fishermen on Cape Cod who are struggling with complex federal regulations favoring larger corporations. In her work with the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association, she hopes to continue to build on the conflict resolution skills she learned at HLS.

Virginia Corrigan ’12. Corrigan will work in California with the Youth Law Center, in cooperation with the Contra Costa Public Defender. She plans to develop a new program for the civil representation of incarcerated youth in Contra Costa County, working to ensure that juveniles in detention have access to the education and health care to which they are entitled under California law. She will also work with the Youth Law Center to identify best practices, and advocate for needed improvements in law and policy to protect the civil rights of detained youth.

Josh Green ’13

Josh Green ’13. Green, who worked for two years with the Harvard Immigration Project’s “Know Your Rights” program, will work in Los Angeles providing direct representation to youth. Supervised by the Los Angeles Advancement Project, Green will work to file removal petitions from gang injunctions with the L.A. city attorney. He will also file motions in civil court for clients seeking to quash injunctions and/or stay their enforcement, pending a hearing on gang status. Prior to attending law school, Green was an actor for seven years and appeared in several films and television shows.

Sean Hill ’12. Since graduating from HLS, Hill has been working with Youth Represent, supported in part by a Harvard post-graduate fellowship. As an Equal Justice Works fellow, Hill will work with Youth Represent to offer legal representation for youth in Family Court. At HLS, he worked with the Education Law Clinic and in the family law division of the WilmerHale Legal Services.

Annie Hudson-Price ’13

Annie Hudson-Price ’13. Hudson-Price will work with Public Counsel to represent veterans in Veterans Treatment Courts, applying principles of collaborative justice, community-based alternatives to incarceration, and providing access to therapies for trauma and mental illness linked to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She will enlist pro-bono assistance for reentry into the workforce, record expungement and eviction prevention. At HLS, she represented clients through the Legal Aid Bureau, and she participated in Harvard Defenders and the Trial Advocacy Workshop.

Alexandra St. Pierre ’13. St. Pierre will work with the Juvenile Advocacy Program of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County. She will provide legal representation on issues related to dependency, delinquency, consumer credit, public benefits and education. She will also conduct workshops to educate youth in foster care about their legal rights as they age out of the foster care system. At HLS, St. Pierre worked with the Child Advocacy Program and did clinical work at the Children and Family Law Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

Alexandra St. Pierre ’13

Seven students from Harvard Law received University Traveling Fellowships for dissertation research and postgraduate research. The Kennedy, Knox and Sheldon Traveling Fellowships, as they are collectively known, and the Australian Graduate Research Fellowships, were established to support a full academic year of research or study abroad for Harvard graduate students and graduates of Harvard’s graduate and professional schools.

Emilie Aguirre ’13 received a Knox Fellowship and Fulbright Fellowship. As a Fulbright Fellow, she will to study food and health regulations in several European countries. Her project will assess the impact of EU Common Agricultural Policy on small-scale farming and obesity incidence in the United Kingdom. She will analyze how macro regulatory schemes affect local agricultural structures, individual behavior and nutrition. Ultimately, the project aims to propose innovative improvements for local food and agriculture laws and policies to address critical global health concerns. At HLS, she worked with Harvard’s Ghana Project, and the Food Law and Policy Clinic.

For the second time ever, Harvard was allowed to nominate one candidate for an unpaid academic yearlong clerkship to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. Elinathan Ohiomoba ’13, who received the Frederick Sheldon Fellowship, will use the opportunity to combine judicial clerkship and research study. Working at the International Court of Justice, she will research why jurists have resisted models of collective responsibility and punishment in response to violations of peremptory norms of international law. She will access the Nuremberg military tribunal archives in the Court’s library to understand the paradigm of individual rather than state responsibility from the time of the Holocaust.

Jason Gelbort ’13, who received the Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship and the Arthur C. Helton Fellowship, will perform a comparative study examining the drafting of a new constitution and development of transitional justice mechanisms in Libya, and creation of access to justice advocacy and policies in Kosovo. Gelbort plans to draw together lessons on post-conflict reconciliation and peace building issues within a legal framework for creating sustainable institutions. At HLS, he served as co-president of the Harvard Law and International Development Society. He researched constitutional reform options for Bahrain and worked as a researcher in the Sierra Leone Law Reform Commission and Justice Sector Office.

Innokenty Pyetranker ’13, who received the Frederick Sheldon Fellowship, will clerk for the Honorable Asher Grunis, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel. Additionally, he will research and write about the role that international law can play in managing new and emerging threats to national security. At HLS, Pyetranker served as President of the Harvard National Security & Law Association and Executive Editor of the Harvard National Security Journal. Through Harvard’s International Human Rights Clinic, he worked on projects involving disarmament and fully autonomous weapons.

James Tager ’13, who received the Frederick Sheldon Fellowship, aims to understand local civil society efforts in Southeast Asia to reform and develop the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. His research will focus on the civil society groups’ methods of communication and tactical as well as strategic decision-making. The analysis will look closely at comparative human rights systems adopted in other regions, such as the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Human Rights System. At HLS, he served as co-president of Harvard Law School Human Rights Advocates.

Frances Dales ’13, who received the Sinclair Kennedy Fellowship, will research and analyze the relationship between Belize’s land policies and Mayan food insecurity, using an international human rights lens to illuminate how changes in governmental land policy can increase food access and nutrition. The goal of this study would be to contribute to the dialogue on health outcomes and minority group rights. A fluent Spanish speaker, Dales has worked extensively in Central and South American during summer and winter terms.

OPIA’s Fellowship Director Judy Murciano has been advising on fellowships for more than 16 years. She has been incredibly successful at helping HLS students land public service and traveling fellowships. She has also been able to help HLS graduates become social entrepreneurs by helping them obtain seed money for independent projects and new nonprofits.

Other HLS fellowship recipients this year include:

David Husband ’13 received the Electronic Privacy Information Center Fellowship and will be working with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, D.C. EPIC Fellows work to develop expertise in one of the following substantive areas: Appellate Advocacy, Consumer Privacy, Domestic Surveillance, FOIA Litigation, International Privacy, or Voting Privacy.

Rachel Judge ’13 received a fellowship to do death penalty work at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.

Turner Smith ’12 will participate in the Massachusetts Attorney General Fellowship Program at the Massachusetts Attorney Generals Office, beginning sin September 2013. The Fellowship Program offers entry-level attorneys a unique opportunity to engage in the practice of law and policy in the largest public sector legal office in the Commonwealth.

Justin Tresnowski ’13 received the Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellowship from the Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI). The fellowship offers recent law school and public policy school graduates the opportunity to develop the experience, skills and network critical to a rewarding career in public interest advocacy. Based in the Chicago area, BPI addresses issues of social justice and quality of life.

As a Presidential Management Fellow, Jamal Khan ’13 will have the opportunity to work with the Federal Government in a series of rotational and training opportunities. The PMF Program is a flagship leadership development program for advanced degree candidates.

Elizabeth Graber ’13

Elizabeth Graber ’13 has received the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship in Nonprofit Law and will work at the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City. The Vera Institute combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety.

The Service Employees International Union has awarded their law fellowship to Celidh Gao ’13 who will focus on workers rights and community organizing. The SEUI is the fastest growing union in North America focusing on uniting workers to improve their lives and helping provide healthcare and support services.

Stephanie Berger ’13 has received the Tycko & Zavareei Fellowship from Tycko & Zavareei LLP based in Washington, D.C. The firm works has worked with a number of public interest issues including tenants’ associations battling to preserve decent and affordable housing, consumers seeking redress for unfair business practices, whistleblowers exposing fraud and corruption, and non-profit entities and businesses facing difficult litigation.

Having received the Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship, Emily Wales ’13 will be working at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1972, the Center has expanded the possibilities for women and girls by getting new laws on the books and enforced; litigating ground-breaking cases all the way to the Supreme Court, and educating the public about ways to make laws and public policies work for women and their families.