Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Solomon Center Celebrates the Class of 2021

On May 23, the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy team celebrated as our students of the Yale Law School class of 2021 graduated and became the newest Solomon Center alumni.

Despite the difficult year, they showed unwavering commitment to the Solomon Center’s program and community. Over their three years as law students, the Center’s 2021 graduates have played a pivotal role in the growth of the Solomon Center: expanding our Elder Law Project; acting as student leaders in our Medical-Legal Partnerships and Brain Injury Project; establishing the Center as a thought-leader on the opioid crisis, and gun policy, and the COVID-19 pandemic; and spearheading important work related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. They have also inspired our faculty and staff regularly with their intellect, enthusiasm, tireless efforts, and commitment to the community.

As the newest graduates venture out into the professional world, we look forward to what they will accomplish, and we are excited to highlight several graduates who begin their legal careers building and expanding on the health law and policy work they began at the Law School.

Chaaru Deb ’21
Incoming First-Year Associate, Latham and Watkins, LLP

This fall, Chaaru will be joining the intellectual property litigation practice at Latham and Watkins in Menlo Park, California. Some of her work there will relate to biotechnology and pharmaceutical patents, which have been areas of scholarly interest during her time at the law school. Reflecting on her health-related work with the Solomon Center, Chaaru said “My scholarly interests in health law and patent law really flourished thanks to the support of the Solomon Center.”

As a law student, Chaaru served as a Co-Director of the Yale Health Law and Policy Society (YHeLPS) and as a Solomon Center Student Fellow, in addition to taking advantage of many of the law school’s health law course offerings. Chaaru participated in the Consortium for the Advanced Study of Brain Injury (CASBI) seminar, a research collaboration where she contributed to three academic papers. She was also a student leader in the Medical Legal Partnership clinic at the Haven Clinic and participated in the interdisciplinary COVID-19 workshop. She noted that “The COVID-19 pandemic presented many hardships, but also revealed so many areas of important inquiry in the law.”

Chaaru also hopes to include health law litigation in her pro bono practice and credits the Solomon Center for having a lasting impact on her legal career:

“From the very first phone call I received from Professor Gluck as an admitted student to becoming clinic teammates with one of my YHeLPs co-directors, the Solomon Center and the health law community at YLS have been integral to my law school experience,” said Chaaru. “The Center's numerous unique experiences and the amazing people that make up its community have allowed me to bring a health law framework to other areas of my legal career too.”

Allison Durkin ’21
Liman Public Interest Law Fellow, Legal Aid Society of New York

As a Liman Public Interest Law Fellow, Allison will be working in the DNA Unit of the Legal Aid Society of New York. There she will leverage her knowledge of health law to advocate for genetic privacy and the proper application of forensic evidence in the criminal legal system. 

Allison was a Solomon Center Fellow and Co-Director of the Yale Health Law and Policy Society. In these roles, she planned health law events across campus, supported the Center's annual conferences, and helped to foster a community for health law students. During her time at YLS, she took part in the Center's Medical Legal Partnership for pediatric patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she worked to address social determinants of health during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as access to housing and special education services.

Allison also developed her scholarship as a Solomon Center student. She took part in research with the Center on Disability Justice through the Brain Injury Project. Based on her work as a student in the Center's seminar Law, Policy, and Guns, Allison also co-authored an article regarding the need for greater access to firearms data.

Allison leaves the law school with fond memories of her time with the Solomon Center: “From the first week of law school, the Solomon Center offered me a supportive community and invaluable opportunities from which to learn and grow. I am immeasurably grateful to the leaders of the Solomon Center, particularly Professor Abbe Gluck and Executive Director Katie Kraschel.”

Caroline Lawrence ’21
Incoming First-Year Associate, Ropes & Gray, LLP

At Ropes and Gray, Caroline hopes to continue working in medical legal partnerships and to practice in the areas of life science and health care. She feels “grateful to have learned so early in my career about the many ways lawyers can be useful to their clients, and will unquestionably go on to apply this in my future work, whether MLP-related or not.”

Caroline joined the Consortium for the Advanced Study of Brain Injury (CASBI) as a first-year law student and stayed with the research group for three years, even spending a summer developing the group’s research as a Visiting Graduate Fellow with New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She valued her time with the Brain Injury Project immensely and stated that “CASBI showed me how much work remains to be done in the field of disability rights, and I'm thankful to have spent time in law school unpacking at least some of this effort via our research and publications.”

“The Solomon Center fundamentally structured my time in law school, from the classes I took to the professors and peers from whom I was so lucky to learn,” said Caroline. In addition to her work with CASBI, she was also a member of the Transitions Medical-Legal Partnership for two years, an experience which she said “uprooted my entire concept of what it means to be a lawyer and a zealous advocate.” 

Caroline emphasized the importance of the community she found in the Solomon Center: “I really cannot imagine law school without the Solomon Center and the incredible people who constitute it,” she said. “Not only did it facilitate professional growth, but it introduced me to many of the individuals I admire the most deeply at YLS.”

Blake Shultz ’21
Yale School of Medicine ’22

After YLS, Blake will be returning to Yale School of Medicine to complete his fourth and final year, while applying to emergency medicine residencies and continuing his academic writing.

Over his six years as a student fellow with the Solomon Center, Blake has been broadly involved in health policy work and research across campus and the government. He served as a Co-Director of YHeLPS and submissions editor for the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics. Blake also volunteered with the Haven medical legal partnership and currently serves as a board member for S-PHASEC (Students Promoting Health Advocacy and Synchronized Engagement with Communities), an organization with hundreds of local volunteers working to augment city and state responses to COVID-19.

Through Solomon Center course offerings and collaborations with faculty and affiliates, Blake has developed and expanded his academic writing during his time at YLS. He co-authored three published papers through the “Law, Policy & Guns” seminar and a variety of academic blogs and op-eds inspired by the “COVID-19: Law, Economics & Governance” seminar. He also has a forthcoming Yale Law Journal Note and a number of clinical studies published at the medical school.

 Blake said that the Solomon Center introduced him to the world of interdisciplinary scholarship and provided a community of like-minded students. When reflecting on his experience as an MD/JD candidate, Blake said that “For an MD/JD student, particularly one graduating during COVID-19, interdisciplinary organizations like the Solomon Center are invaluable. Health care is so complicated and interconnected with non-health policy that individuals from a single academic background can only contribute a piece of the puzzle.”

The Solomon Center celebrates and congratulates our most recent graduates and looks forward to following their bright futures in law.