Harvard Law receives record number of Skadden Fellowships

This year, nine HLS students and alumni were awarded the prestigious Skadden Fellowship for public service

WCC in the evening

Credit: Brooks Kraft

This year, Harvard Law School students and alumni have won an astounding nine Skadden Fellowships to pursue public interest work. The awards represent the second time in the 32-year history of the Skadden Fellowship Foundation that HLS has had nine Skadden Fellows in one year.

This year’s HLS recipients are Molly Broderick ’21, Anna Carlsson ’21, anneke dunbar-gronke ’19, Mahroh Jahangiri ’21, Kelsey Miller ’21, Kenneth Parreno ’19, Molly Prothero ’21,  Alexis Yeboah-Kodie ’21 and Jessica Zhang ’19.

The nine students and alumni honored from HLS were among twenty-nine from 13 law schools across the nation. Only three other law schools this year had multiple selections.

“Our students are truly extraordinary, and it is a pleasure and a privilege to support them in OPIA, and to partner with the many faculty and staff members who play a foundational role in shaping their experiences at HLS and advocating on their behalf,” said Catherine Pattanayak, assistant dean for public service and director of the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising at HLS.

“I am so very grateful for the Skadden Foundation’s longstanding efforts to help narrow the justice gap in the United States, and for recognizing our students’ hard work, deep commitment to the communities they will serve, and thoughtfulness about their role as lawyers in creating a more just and equitable society,” said Pattanayak.

The fellowships, which provide a salary and benefits, were established in 1988 by the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to provide young lawyers the opportunity to pursue the practice of public interest law on a full-time basis.

Since its founding, the Skadden Fellowship Foundation has funded more than 900 public interest fellowships. According to the foundation, 90 percent of former fellows remain in public service, and almost all continue to work on the same issues from their initial fellowship projects.

Here are this year’s HLS Skadden Fellows.

Molly Broderick ’21

“[It is crucial] that legal work be driven by the needs of communities most affected, as determined by those communities themselves.”

Molly Broderick ’21, who participated in the Housing Clinic at HLS’ Legal Service Center and in the Health Law and Policy Clinic, will provide direct services and systemic advocacy to combat the wave of COVID-19 related evictions, in coordination with a Massachusetts statewide housing and racial justice coalition to combat COVID-19 related evictions.

Anna Carlsson ’21

“I feel very lucky to be continuing to work toward housing justice in my hometown of St. Louis next year.”

Anna Carlsson ’21, who has been active in the Tenant Advocacy Project at HLS, will represent low-income St. Louis homeowners burdened with unfair property tax burdens as a fellow at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. Her direct assistance work will include challenging assessments, foreclosure defense, and claiming excess funds from forced sales.

anneke dunbar-gronke ’19

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Washington, D.C.

anneke dunbar-gronke ’19, who was on the executive board of Harvard Defenders while a student at HLS, will address housing precarity for low-income Black renters in and around Baltimore through a community-based approach: Eviction defense plus provide community education about, and support to, housing cooperatives and community land trusts.

Mahroh Jahangiri ’21

Advancement Project, Washington, D.C.

“Cops routinely perpetrate sexual violence, and people survive it without legal support. I am enormously grateful to join the Advancement Project and organizers to challenge police sexual violence.”

Mahroh Jahangiri ’21, who was a student in the Crimmigration Clinic, will provide community outreach and education, impact litigation, and movement-driven policy advocacy to vindicate rights of low-income women of color impacted by police sexual violence.

Kelsey Miller ’21

American Civil Liberties Union – Voting Rights Project, New York City

Kelsey Miller ’21, who has been active in the Tenant Advocacy Project at HLS, will work closely with low-income voters of color who have been disenfranchised by racially disparate wait times at the polls on Election Day. She will work to use litigation and advocacy to reverse polling place closures and provide sufficient electoral resources, beginning in Alabama and Arizona.

Kenneth Parreno ’19

Kenneth Parreno ’19, who was a member of and the training director for the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, will provide direct representation, information and outreach, and impact litigation to empower low-income English language learners and their families to secure the educational resources they need.

Molly Prothero ’21

Bread for the City, Washington, D.C.

“I’m especially grateful to have had the opportunity to work with clients and community organizers in Boston, and to the students who have pushed me to simultaneously engage critically with our existing legal system and think expansively about what we could create instead.”

Molly Prothero ’21, who is the executive director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, will build a medical-legal partnership with Bread for the City’s new SE DC medical clinic to provide direct representation in housing conditions and public benefits cases.

Alexis Yeboah-Kodie ’21

New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, New Orleans

“My purpose as an organizer coming to HLS was to understand how the law hinders grassroots movements and to use this knowledge to protect and support these movements.”

Alexis Yeboah-Kodie ’21, who is the co-executive director of the Prison Legal Assistance Project and participated in the Harvard International Human Rights Clinic, will provide wage theft litigation, including enforcing a recent increase in the living wage for city contractors, criminal records clearing, policy advocacy, and grassroots organizing to strengthen worker protections.

Jessica Zhang ’19

RAICES, San Antonio, TX

Jessica Zhang ’19, who participated in the Harvard Immigration & Refugee Clinic and the Crimmigration Clinic while at HLS, will file administrative complaints and federal lawsuits, on behalf of individuals and classes, under the Federal Tort Claims Act, seeking damages against the federal government on behalf of non-citizens living in Texas who have been injured in federal immigration detention.

You can learn more about the 2021 Skadden Fellows on the HLS Clinical and Pro Bono Programs blog.

Clinical Experience Paves The Way – Congratulations to the 2021 Skadden Fellows!