Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Liman Center Announces 2005-06 Liman Fellows

The Arthur Liman Public Interest Program named five recipients of its Liman Fellowship for 2005-06. The Liman Fellowship is available to recent YLS graduates and enables its holders to work full-time for a year in a law-related endeavor designed to further the public interest, generally under the sponsorship of an existing organization or possibly through a start-up project.

The 2005-06 Liman Fellows:

Jorge Baron is a 2003 graduate of the Law School. He recently finished clerking for the Honorable Betty Binns Fletcher on the Ninth Circuit. Jorge has returned to New Haven and will work with New Haven Legal Assistance on a project to train immigrants and criminal defense counsel on the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction and to explore how to mitigate those consequences. Jorge's work is part of a larger national effort among legal services providers to deal with the intersection of criminal, civil, and immigration law.

Kim Pattillo Brownson is a 2002 graduate of the Law School. Kim clerked for the Honorable Louis Pollak in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and then for the Honorable Dolores Sloviter on the Third Circuit. Kim's fellowship will be at the ACLU of Southern California in Los Angeles. She will devote her time to enforcement of a settlement in Williams v. State of California, a class action that challenged California's failure to provide adequate classrooms and educational materials.

Eliza Leighton will graduate from the Law School in May 2005. She will spend her fellowship year at CASA of Maryland and will work with residents of Langley Park, Maryland, a community primarily composed of low-wage immigrant residents. CASA of Maryland has recently helped organize three groups: a tenant group, a mobile food vendor group, and a group of day laborers. Eliza will help those groups identify common legal problems and will assist them in devising advocacy strategies.

Holly Thomas is a 2004 graduate of the Law School. She is currently clerking for the Honorable Kim Wardlaw on the Ninth Circuit. Holly will work at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in its New York office where she will focus on the issue of juveniles serving sentences of life without possibility of parole (LWOP). Holly's project will center on two states, Louisiana and Mississippi, both of which allow juveniles as young as 15 to be sentenced to LWOP and both of which have a history of racial disparity in sentencing. Holly plans to gather sentencing data in order to prepare a media campaign and public education about LWOP and develop a litigation strategy challenging the appropriateness of such sentences.

Sofia Yakren is a 2004 graduate of the Law School. She is currently clerking for the Honorable Nancy Gertner in the District of Massachusetts. Sofia will spend her fellowship year at the Urban Justice Center in New York. Using the Americans with Disabilities Act, she will address the New York City Human Resource Administration's failure to permit the mentally ill to use public assistance and Medicaid benefits to cover mental health services. Sofia's project builds on preliminary work already underway at the Urban Justice Center.


The Arthur Liman Public Interest Program was established at Yale Law School in 1996 to honor the late Arthur Liman, a partner in the New York City law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. In addition to his work at the firm, Liman had a long and distinguished career as a public servant, including positions on the New York State Special Commission on Attica, the Legal Aid Society of New York, the Neighborhood Legal Services of Harlem, the Legal Action Center of New York City, and the New York State Capital Defender's Office. He also served as special counsel to the United States Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, also known as the Iran-Contra Committee.