Yale Law School Sets Record with Seven Students, Alumni Awarded Skadden Fellowships

A record setting number of Yale Law students and recent graduates have been selected as recipients of the 2014 Skadden Public Interest Fellowships. Seven of the 28 recipients this year—which include graduating law students and judicial clerks from around the country—are connected to Yale Law School and will be devoting the next two years of their professional careers to public interest work.

This year’s selection by the Skadden Foundation represents the highest number of fellowships awarded to Yale Law School students and graduates annually since it began in 1989. This year’s list also includes more Yale Law School fellows than any other law school in the country.

The 2014 Fellowships will take place in 11 states and the District of Columbia, with recipients working on a variety of issues from early education to poverty to immigration. Skadden Fellows are provided with a salary and fringe benefits for a two-year period. To date, the firm has funded 705 fellowships, with 69 spots going to Yale Law School graduates.

The newest group of Yale Law School Skadden Fellows include Peter Chen ’13, Jason Glick ’12, Dermot Lynch ’12, Lindsay Nash ’10, Aadhithi Padmanabhan ’14, Gillian Quandt ’14, and Ariel Stevenson ’14. The following list details what organization and issue each fellow will be working on:

  • Peter Chen ’13, Advocates for Children of New Jersey, Newark, NJ
    Advocacy for early education and intervention rights of children ages 0-5 by educating parents of their rights, identifying obstacles to use, and providing direct legal assistance and policy advocacy to lower those obstacles.
  • Jason Glick ’12, New York Legal Assistance Group, New York, NY
    Direct representation, community education and impact litigation to empower low-income, Spanish- and Mandarin-speaking New Yorkers to combat and be free from fraudulent and deceptive business practices by predatory for-profit schools.
  • Dermot Lynch ’12, Colorado Legal Services, Denver, CO
    Direct representation and community education to empower exploited sheep and cattle herders on Colorado's Western Slope to vindicate their legal rights.
  • Lindsay Nash ’10, American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrant’s Rights Project, New York, NY
    Will challenge discrimination against immigrant youth brought to the United States as children, who are commonly known as "Dreamers," in education and employment through direct representation, impact litigation, public education and advocacy.
  • Aadhithi Padmanabhan ’14, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York, NY
    Provision of community education, litigation and advocacy to enforce labor rights and prevent sexual harassment of female farm workers in Western New York.
  • Gillian Quandt ’14, Centro Legal de la Raza, Oakland, CA
    Will establish a medical-legal partnership to provide integrated comprehensive legal services to the low-income, Spanish-speaking working immigrant community in the East Bay. Will establish an on-site legal clinic at La Clinica de la Raza.
  • Ariel Stevenson ’14, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Los Angeles, CA
    Will provide direct representation to low-income immigrant workers in tax controversy cases, including negotiating offers and compromise, representing clients in collection due process hearings and requesting audit reconsideration, among other services. Will also develop language-appropriate education programs and materials to increase the tax literacy of low-income immigrant communities.

Yale Law School has a strong tradition of service in the public interest, with approximately 80 percent of students taking part in public interest activities each year, either through clinics or voluntary student groups. There are also a variety of public interest-related courses and generous support provided to graduates who decide to pursue careers in this field.

“For so many of our students and recent graduates to be recognized for their dedication to public interest law is a tremendous honor,” said Akua Akyea, Director of Public Interest in the Career Development Office. “These committed individuals bring passion, energy, and vision to work for the public good and we are excited to see how they use these qualities to create positive change in the world.”

Five of this year’s Skadden Fellows have worked for Yale Law School’s Worker & Immigration Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC), which is co-directed by two former Skadden fellows Michael Wishnie ’93, the William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, and Muneer Ahmad, Clinical Professor of Law.

“Yale Law School attracts so many public spirited students each year, bursting with energy to represent under-served communities,” said Wishnie. “It is wonderful to see the talents and convictions of these students recognized by the Skadden Fellowship Foundation. Two decades ago I was fortunate to receive a Skadden Fellowship, which enabled me to begin a career in labor and immigrant rights work. I am so proud see five WIRAC students receive the same extraordinary opportunity this year.”

The Skadden Fellowship program began in 1989 by the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in honor of the firm’s 40th anniversary and in recognition of the dire need for greater funding for graduating law students and judicial clerks who are dedicating their careers to providing legal services to underserved members of society. For a full list of this year’s fellows, visit the Skadden Foundation website.