For the second straight year, six Harvard Law School students and recent graduates have been chosen to receive Skadden Fellowships to support their work in public service. This marks the seventh consecutive year that HLS students and recent graduates have won more of the prestigious Skadden fellowships than their competitors from other law schools.
The six students are: Alex Boni-Saenz 08, Aaron Halegua ‘09, Alison Kamhi ‘08, Damon King ‘09, Michelle Kuo ‘09, and Jason Szanyi ‘09.
“This is terrific news–not just for this year’s group of remarkably accomplished recipients, but for all the many people they will help in their new positions,” said Dean Elena Kagan ’86. “The Skadden Fellowships have enabled more than 100 HLS graduates to pursue their commitment to public service, and I’m delighted that these six dedicated students and alumni will now have that same opportunity. I could not be more proud, and I congratulate them all.”
Described as a legal Peace Corps by the Los Angeles Times, the Skadden Fellowship program was established by the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher Flom in 1988 in recognition of the need for greater funding for graduating law students who wish to devote their professional lives to providing legal services to the poor.
The fellowship provides a $46,000 salary plus benefits for one year, with the expectation of renewal for a second year. To apply, students must create their own projects at public interest organizations with the help of at least two lawyers.
Over the last 20 years, the Skadden Fellowship program has funded more than 500 law school graduates and judicial clerks to work full-time for legal and advocacy organizations. Since the program’s inception, almost 90 percent of the Fellows have remained in public interest or public sector work after finishing their fellowships.
Both Halequa and Kamhi are former Fulbright Scholars, while Boni-Saenz and Kuo are former Truman Scholars. Kuo is also a 2007 Soros Fellow and a former Harvard-Knox fellow, and Kamhi was named a Chayes Fellow in 2006. Boni-Saenz will represent low-income seniors through the creation of the first medical-legal partnership for the elderly in the Chicago area. His placement will be with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.
Halegua will work for the The Legal Aid Society in New York, NY. He will engage in advocacy to combat the exploitation of low-income Chinese immigrant workers in New York city by providing direct representation in wage and hour, discrimination and retaliation cases as well as educational outreach through community groups in Flushing.
Kamhi will work for Catholic Charities in New York, NY, and will represent abused, neglected and abandoned immigrant youth who are housed temporarily by the Federal Government in Children’s Village Facilities in NYC. She will facilitate their release, reintegration with their families or transfer to foster care systems.
King will work at the Youth Law Center in San Francisco, to enforce the rights of children in California’s group homes through direct representation, legal support for court-appointed attorneys and collaboration with state agencies to resolve facility licensing violations.
Kuo, who will work for Centro Legal de Raza in Oakland, CA, plans to establish an on-site legal clinic at a public high school that will create direct access to legal aid for indigent families. She will also teach conflict resolution to youth.
Szanyi will go to the Center for Children’s Law and Policy in Washington, DC, where he will work on impact litigation and policy advocacy for children in the juvenile justice system, focusing on abused children and others who are not receiving adequate education or health care. He also plans to engage in direct representation as a foundation for national advocacy.
Find more about the Skadden Fellowships here.