The Harvard Law School recipients are Bradford Adams ’12, Marielle Macher ’11, Toby Merrill ’11, Ben Polk ’12, Rachel Rosenberg ’12 and Julie Wimmer ’11.
“At a time when many nonprofit organizations and legal services providers are experiencing both budget crises and a precipitous rise in the need for their services, I am grateful to the Skadden Foundation for funding an amazingly dedicated group of new lawyers, who will help provide critical assistance to needy communities,” said Alexa Shabecoff, assistant dean for public service in the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising at HLS.
The two-year fellowship provides a salary and covers all fringe benefits to which an employee of the sponsoring organization is entitled. The fellowships were established in 1988 by the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in recognition of the need for greater funding for graduating law students who want to devote their professional life to helping the poor, elderly, homeless and disabled, as well as those deprived of their civil or human rights. Applicants create their own projects at public interest organizations with at least two lawyers on staff.
Adams will work at Shelter Legal Services in Newton, Mass., where he will focus on expanding legal services to poor and homeless veterans through legal clinics at homeless shelters and in veterans’ homes and on addressing access to benefits, challenging discharge status and resolving financial or family matters.
Macher will work at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, where she will provide direct representation and community education to fight foreclosure rescue and loan modification scams, and assist low-income homeowners in recovering monetary damages and titles to their homes.
Merrill will work at the Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plain, Mass., representing low-income student loan borrowers in litigation against predatory lenders.
Polk will work at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, where he will provide legal support to local community-based organizations and non-profits in South Los Angeles who are starting social enterprises that will bring needed jobs, goods and services to low-income communities.
Rosenberg will work at the Youth Advocacy Foundation in Roxbury, Mass., where she will represent court-involved youth in special education matters to ensure access to appropriate education and to reduce school exclusion. She will also train court-appointed juvenile attorneys on education issues.
Wimmer will work at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Austin, Texas, where she will represent and provide community education for low-income immigrant family violence survivors in underserved areas of rural Central Texas.
In its 2010 “U.S. Innovative Lawyers” report, the Financial Times ranked Skadden in the top tier in the Responsible Business category in connection with the foundation, noting that it “ensures some of the brightest legal talent goes into public life.” The 2012 class of Skadden Fellows brings to 648 the number of academically outstanding law school graduates and judicial clerks the firm has funded to work full-time for legal and advocacy organizations. For more information about the Skadden Fellowships, visit the Skadden Foundation’s website.