Selection Criteria

The Initiative for Public Interest Law at Yale will not be accepting applications for a separate fellowship during the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Past Grant Recipients

Corinne Waite, Yale Law School 16’, American Gateways. Ms. Waite will represent indigent clients in removal proceedings in the Pearsall and San Antonio Immigration Courts. Her project focuses specifically on cases that are particularly complicated as well as cases that could reunite families. Ms. Waite will also create written materials to facilitate American Gateways’ assistance to pro bono clients and referrals to pro bono attorneys.

Chi-Ser Tran, Temple University School of Law ’16, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. Ms. Tran will devise and implement a strategy to address employment challenges for low-wage workers in Philadelphia with a particular focus on limited English proficient Asian immigrant workers.

Molly Rose Green, American University, Washington College of Law ’14, Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy. Ms. Green will use legislative advocacy and community education to help Kentuckians obtain expungement of their criminal records.

Lila Meadows, University of Maryland School of Law ’15, Second Chance for Women. Ms. Meadows will help people serving long-term sentences navigate the parole process and will propose reforms to the parole and risk assessment system.

Ashley Steele, University of Texas School of Law ‘14, Texas Capital Direct Appeal Project. Ms. Steele will work with the Texas Defender Service to address the lack of quality legal representation at the direct appeals level for those sentenced to death in Texas. Ms. Steele will advocate for the creation of a new public defender office for capital direct appeals. 

Diana Blank, Yale Law School’13, Expanding Representation of Undocumented Immigrants at New Haven Legal Assistance:  Ms. Blank will collaborate with state and local actors to improve the process through which people apply for U-visas, empowering them to escape domestic violence and exploitation.

Brendan Conner, CUNY School of Law’13, The Survival Law Project at Streetwise and Safe:  Mr. Conner will provide civil legal representation and policy support on a community organizing model for LGBTQ youth of color who experience prostitution-related police encounters and government benefits discrimination in New York City.

Oscar Espino-Padron, UCLA School of Law '11, Countering Wage Theft in the Underground Economy: Mr. Espino-Padron will collaborate with the Wage Justice Center to use mechanic's lien litigation to combat unenforceable paper judgments and reinforce underground economy workers' rights and dignity in Los Angeles, California.

Erin Pettigrew, University of Washington School of Law '12, Wage Collection Project: Ms. Pettigrew will work with the Northwest Workers' Justice Project to combat wage injustice through collections advocacy for low-wage immigrant workers in Oregon.

Nicole T.S. Cortés and Jessica Mayo, Washington University School of Law '12, Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project: Ms. Cortés and Ms. Mayo will direct the Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project (MICA Project), a new, St. Louis-based organization that works with immigrant communities to reduce the need for legal services through organizing, education, pro se assistance, and legal advocacy.

Sharanya Kanikkannan, Yale Law School '11, Human Rights Monitoring in Timor-Leste: Ms. Kanikkannan will organize and prepare legal training and materials for the NGO support network of the National Human Rights Institute of Timor-Leste to find victims, report human rights abuses, and conduct community rights training.

Zachary Duffly, Berkeley School of Law '11, Healthcare Access Advocacy Project for People with Disabilities: Mr. Duffly will collaborate with disability and civil rights advocates to expand and apply a detailed, practical, and replicable strategy that combines policy advocacy, education, outreach, structured negotiations, and impact litigation to reduce stark disparities in healthcare access for people with disabilities.

Thomas Smith, Georgetown University Law Center '08, Legal Services for Immigrant Worker Centers: Mr. Smith will launch Justice at Work, a non-profit organization providing legal services and other strategic resources to a coalition of workers' rights organizations focused on education, organizing, and advocacy of low-wage immigrant workers.

Cara Suvall, Harvard Law School '10, Court Education Intervention Project: In partnership wth The Bronx Defenders, Ms. Suvall will serve 16 and 17 year-olds in adult criminal court by pioneering a model of integrated criminal defense and education advocacy under the Individuals with Disability Education Act and New York law.

Atteeyah Hollie, Berkeley School of Law '10, Southern Center for Human Rights: Ms. Hollie will advocate for consistent and effective funding of Georgia's five year-old public defender system through a multi-step approach that incorporates impact litigation in Georgia counties failing to give its public defenders adequate resources, appellate cases that raise indigent defense issues, and collaboration with public defenders. 

Daniel Berlin, Georgetown University Law Center '09, Asylum Access Ecuador: Mr. Berlin will assist refugees in Ecuador in asserting their fundamental and constitutional rights.

Margaret Middleton, New York University School of Law '07, Connecticut Veterans Legal Center: Ms. Middleton will provide free legal services to low-income veterans visiting the Errera Community Care Center, an award-winning VA mental health center in West Haven, CT. This is the first time legal services have been brought into a VA facility.  

Medha Devanagondi, Yale Law School ’08, PAIR Women’s Asylum Project: Ms. Devanagondi will help improve the provision of legal services to female asylum seekers who are escaping gender-based violence and torture, through direct representation and creation of training materials for attorneys working on similar cases. Ms. Devanagondi will also develop a network of professionals and attorneys to provide pro bono representation and other services required to effectively represent asylum seekers with gender-based claims.

Maria Martinez, University of New Mexico School of Law ’08, New Mexico Colonias Strategic Advocacy Project: Ms. Martinez will asses the legal needs of the residents of the Pajarito Mesa colonia near Albuquerque, New Mexico, and will provide direct representation and systemic advocacy to improve living conditions.

C.J. Masimore, University of Michigan Law School ’04, Brooklyn Young Mothers’ Collective Legal Advocacy Project: Ms. Masimore will represent pregnant and parenting teens in administrative hearings and other legal proceedings related to public assistance, Medicaid, and school enrollment, among other things.

Matthew Schwoebel, University of California - Boalt Hall ’08, Jovenes para Derechos de Indigenas y Medio Ambiente: Mr. Schwoebel will create an indigenous youth-based organization that will enhance community capacity to respond to human rights violations and environmental harms caused by extractive activities in rural Peru.

Paul Keefe, CUNY School of Law at Queens College ’07, will advocate on behalf of the formerly incarcerated in New York City, combining community education and legal advocacy in an effort to remove barriers to employment, housing, and voting.

Nina Rabin, Yale Law School ’03, will start a worker center and legal clinic in Arizona serving low-wage domestic workers, many of whom are immigrant women.

Katherine Wiltenburg Todrys, Yale Law School ’07, will develop and implement curricula and advocacy materials on patient confidentiality for use by health care professionals in Kenya, Ethiopia and Malawi.

Homer Robinson, Yale Law School ’02, received a grant to manage a broad-based coalition in New Mexico in an effort to reform that state’s indigent defense system.

Rachel Nicotra, CUNY School of Law at Queens College ‘06, received a grant to implement a socially-responsible consumption campaign addressing the inadequate wages paid restaurant workers in New York City. 

Alexis Danzig and Megan Dorton received a grant to provide legal services to New York City’s growing elderly indigent and low-income LGBT population.

Rachel Micah-Jones received a grant to start a transnational workers’ rights law firm based in Central Mexico to help migrant workers assert their rights while in the U.S.

John Pollock received a grant to develop and bring impact litigation to combat source-of-income discrimination in Maryland’s housing market.

Melanie Carr received a grant to provide investigative assistance and mitigation development to indigent defendants facing the death penalty in Louisiana.

Victoria Gavito, St. Mary’s Law School ’04, received a grant to work with “theft of wages” claims to pursue prosecution of employers in Texas who fail to pay immigrant workers.

Kevin Kish, Yale Law School ’04, received a grant to provide outreach and legal representation to low-wage and undocumented car wash employees in Los Angeles County, utilizing newly-available state court claims based on recent legislation.

Tara Veazey, Yale Law School ’01, received a grant to make courts more accessible to low-income residents of rural Eastern Montana.

Kim Rinehart, Yale Law School ’99, received a grant to create a network of family child care providers in New Haven to raise the quality of family child care and help child care providers earn a living wage.

J. McGregor Smyth, Yale Law School ’99, was awarded a grant to establish a project to deliver fully-integrated civil and criminal legal services to indigent defense clients in the Bronx.

Dylan Vade, Stanford Law School ’02, received a grant to increase transgendered people’s access to health insurance and healthcare in California.

Sean Basinski, Georgetown University Law Center ’01, was awarded a grant to provide broad-scale legal, organizing, and advocacy services to the street vendors of New York City.

Michael Kagan, University of Michigan Law School ’00, was awarded a grant to represent refugee asylum seekers in Cairo and build a self-sustaining network of refugees to provide assistance in the future.

David Wycoff, Yale Law School ’92, and James Anderson, Yale Law School ’95, were awarded a grant to represent indigent death row prisoners in Pennsylvania’s state courts.

David Kelly, SUNY-Buffalo Law ’00, was awarded a grant to act as a legal guardian for older adolescents in Newark, New Jersey’s foster care system in order to reduce homelessness and equip the adolescents with the skills and services needed for independent living.

Lolita Pierce, UCLA School of Law ’99, was awarded a grant to provide comprehensive legal services and support for adolescent victims of domestic violence in Los Angeles County.

Benjamin Sachs, Yale Law School ’98, was awarded a grant to develop and coordinate a community-based project to provide legal representation, workers' rights training, and local organizing support to low-wage immigrant workers in Brooklyn.