Friday, January 22, 2016

New Yale Law Journal Public Interest Fellowships Announced

In an effort to unite legal scholarship and legal practice, and to advance the public interest, Volume 125 of the Yale Law Journal partnered with the Yale Law School to provide three public interest fellowships on a yearly basis. The YLJ Fellowships will be open to all graduating Yale law students and recent graduates. In addition to the three new fellowships provided by the Yale Law Journal, Yale Law School is committed to offering annually at least six fellowships open to all graduating Yale law students and recent graduates.  

After completing their fellowship year, YLJ Public Interest Fellows will be invited to publish a reflection on their experience in the Journal’s online component,the Forum. In addition, the Journal and the Law School will host a yearly gathering to welcome the new fellows and to recognize former fellows. By sponsoring these fellows, and by incorporating their legal insights into the YLJ’s scholarship, the Journal seeks to foster a closer relationship between legal scholarship and practice.

“This is a significant and welcome commitment from the Yale Law Journal. By offering generous support for our students and recent graduates, it illustrates and embodies the commitment of the entire Law School community to sustaining the public interest,” said Dean Robert C. Post ’77.  “We are thrilled to partner with them on this exciting new initiative."

In addition to its impact on scholarship, YLJ envisions the fellowships as a means of advancing the public interest.
“Our Journal community has increasingly sought to expand our commitment to the public good. And the YLJ Public Interest Fellowships are a novel way for us to do so,” said Michael Clemente ’16, Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal. “Not only will these fellowships inform the scholarship that we publish, but they also represent our commitment to social responsibility. In addition to these fellowships, the Journal’s Board of Directors has formed a new committee to plan further long-term initiatives in the public interest.”

The YLJ Public Interest Fellowships will be named after three graduates of the Yale Law School who demonstrated a commitment to public service, Justine Wise Polier, Jane Matilda Bolin, and Shirley Adelson Siegel.

  • Justine Wise Polier was an editor of Volume 37 of the Yale Law Journal and graduated from Yale Law School in 1928. Prior to law school, she advocated for labor rights at a woolen mill in Passaic, New Jersey. After graduating, she became the first woman to hold a judicial office above magistrate in New York. She served for thirty-eight years as a New York State Family Court judge. Throughout her career, Polier was seen as a brilliant judge and activist who championed the rights of children and the civil rights of African Americans. After retiring from the bench, she served as director of the Juvenile Justice Division of the Children’s Defense Fund.
  • In 1931, Jane Matilda Bolin was the first African-American woman to graduate from Yale Law School. She went on to become the first African-American woman to join the New York City Bar Association, the first to join the New York City Law Department, and the first to serve as a judge in the United States. Her judgeship began in 1939 when she was sworn into the bench of the New York City Domestic Relations Court, and she served in this capacity until she retired at the age of seventy. Throughout her career, Ms. Bolin remained committed to civil service, and worked closely with the NAACP, serving on its executive committee.
  • Shirley Adelson was an editor of Volume 49 of the Yale Law Journal and graduated from Yale Law School in 1941. She was the only woman in her law school class and went on to work in public housing and civil rights, ultimately becoming the head of the civil-rights bureau of the New York City Law Department in 1959. There she worked to break up discriminatory apprenticeship requirements in the building trades. She also served as general counsel of the Housing and Development Administration and as New York State’s solicitor general. After taking a few decades off from practicing law in order to teach, she returned to foreclosure prevention work in 2008.

The general application process for the YLJ Public Interest Fellowships will track the Yale Public Interest Fellowships (YPIFs). For more information, visit the website.

For over a century, the Yale Law Journal has been at the forefront of legal scholarship, sparking conversation and encouraging reflection among scholars and students, as well as practicing lawyers and sitting judges and Justices. The Journal strives to shape discussion of the most important and relevant legal issues through a rigorous scholarship selection and editing process.

The Yale Law Public Interest Fellowships are an important part of the fellowship program at Yale Law School. They support recent Yale law graduates in their full-time public interest work for one year. Learn more on the range of public interest fellowships at Yale Law School.