Thursday, March 23, 2006

Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School Expands

The Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School will hold its 9th annual colloquium on March 30 and 31, 2006. It takes place in a period of expansion, growing diversity and a weaving together of Yale Law School not only with its undergraduate counterpart, Yale College, but also with several other leading universities and colleges, including Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Barnard and Spelman.

With the provision of fellowships to undergraduates for summer work on public interest and its funding of Yale Law graduates to work for under-served populations, the Liman Program is a unique, inter-generational effort to build a community of concerned advocates focused on public service.

This year's colloquium, Organizing and Reorganizing: Public Interest in Individual & Global Contexts, will bring scholars, advocates and students from across the country. It runs in conjunction with the unveiling of the portrait of the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, who is a graduate of the Yale Law School Class of 1954. Topics discussed include the challenges of helping the disabled, the problems for immigrants in the labor market, and the relationship between advocacy against life without parole and advocacy against the death penalty. (See the bottom of this page for the colloquium schedule.)

The Liman Program was founded in 1997 by the family, friends, and colleagues of Arthur Liman, a Yale Law School alumnus '57 and endowed in his honor. Liman personified the ideal of commitment to public interest and who throughout his long and distinguished career demonstrated how dedicated lawyers can serve the need of people and causes that might otherwise go unrepresented.

"We are really touched by all the help and support that the Liman family has provided for public interest work," says Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law and Founding Director at Yale Law School. "The Program makes plain what law schools can do, working cooperatively with lawyers, current students, alums, and undergraduates at several universities to provide services to those so lacking in support."

"I am honored to continue my father's legacy through the Liman Public Interest Program," says Doug Liman, executive producer and movie director, whose films include "Swingers," "The Bourne Identity," and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." "It is my hope that even more Fellows will have the opportunity to provide a voice and advocate for those in need."

In 2004, with a generous gift from Arthur Liman's son Doug Liman, the summer undergraduate public service program expanded from stipends for Harvard students to also providing funding for students at Brown and Yale. With additional support from the Liman Family Foundation, the program expanded again in Summer 2005 to include students from Barnard, and this summer, students from Princeton and Spelman will also participate in the program.

In 1998, the summer program had three Summer Fellows and this summer will have more than two dozen.

"In so far as we know," says Judith Resnik, "we are the only such program in the country that has created this kind of 'intergenerational' ladder of public-spirited undergraduates, law students, and graduates. And the program is special in that it aims to help this 'fellowship' continue over time. Further, we have just launched our first inter-law school fellowship, as one of the upcoming Law School Fellows will be at NYU's Brennan Center."

Deborah Cantrell, the director of the Liman Program added: "It is remarkable proof of the effectiveness of the 'fellowship' that twenty-three of our twenty-six former Law School Fellows remain working on behalf of those who are underrepresented or underserved."

The seven new Law School Fellows, to serve in 2006-2007, are:

Alice Chapman, a 2003 Yale Law School graduate, will serve her fellowship at the Immigrants' Rights Project of the ACLU in New York.

Sameera Fazili, to graduate in this spring, will spend her fellowship year at Shorebank in Chicago, working with their affiliate Northern Initiatives, to create a consortium of community development financial institutions in an innovative effort to
raise investment capital for persons with less access to such funds.

Paige Herwig, also graduating in 2006 from Yale Law School, will work at the National Women's Law Center in Washington, DC, where she will focus on state regulations of pharmacies as she explores ways to improve access to contraception in light of the unwillingness of some pharmacists to dispense it.

Anna Rich, a 2003 Yale Law School graduate, will spend her fellowship year at the National Senior Citizens' Law Center in Oakland California to advocate for individuals with disabilities and for low-income seniors affected by Medicare's new private-plan based prescription drug law.

Larry Schwartztol, a 2005 Yale Law School graduate, will hold the Program's first joint fellowship, co-sponsored by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School; he will be a part of its Democracy Program and direct his efforts towards reform of state felony disenfranchisement laws and the enforcement of state voting rights for individuals with criminal convictions.

Marc Silverman, who will graduate in May 2006, will spend his fellowship year at Advocates for Children in New York, where he will work on behalf of older youth with disabilities as they make the transition from schools to employment, post-secondary education, training programs, and independent living.

Charisa Smith, a 2005 Yale Law School graduate, will begin a new project at JustChildren in Richmond, Virginia, where her focus will be on juvenile parolees in need of legal assistance to obtain housing, education, health care, mentoring, and vocational training. She hopes to establish centers that will provide a range of services for juvenile parolees.