Anderson Public Interest Fellowship
Sarah Biehl '03
In 2004, Sarah Biehl became the first Moritz alumni awarded a Skadden Fellowship. Recently, Sarah was again honored when she was awarded the 2006 Kimball R. and Karen Gatsis Anderson Public Interest Law Fellowship from the Chicago Bar Foundation. The annual award assists one law graduate working in a public interest field with law school debt repayment. Sarah received the fellowship for creating and operating a legal clinic for high school students and families in one of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods. Sarah's clinic provides both civil legal services and legal education for the students of North Lawndale College Preparatory High School. Sarah uses legal issues that arise in the legal services clinic to create coursework for students, giving students, and through them - their families and surrounding community - a better understanding of the basic aspects of law and how it directly affects them.
Equal Justice Works Fellowships
Founded in 1986, the Equal Justice Works program is the nation's leading provider of summer and postgraduate public interest opportunities. EJW matches various sponsors with public interest attorneys who develop legal projects aimed at addressing the needs of currently underserved populations. The goal of EJW is to create a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to the public interest.
Kristen Henry '07
Kristen Henry received a fellowship to work with the Equal Justice Foundation to provide representation to the more than 3,000 juveniles incarcerated in Ohio Department of Youth Services prisons each year. This project will seek to enforce the legal rights of incarcerated juveniles under the No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and to address other problems with the conditions of confinement. In addition to representing individual juveniles, Kristen will work to raise awareness of the need for representation, to inform incarcerated juveniles of their rights, and to improve statewide policies on juvenile incarceration.
The Equal Justice Foundation (EJF) was created as a 501(c)(3) organization for the purpose of performing impact litigation and other work prohibited by 1996 federal legislation restricting the actions of federally funded legal service organizations. Its mission is the direct representation of low-income or other disadvantaged Ohio residents in cases raising issues of statewide significance. Kristen became involved with EJF during her second summer of law school, when she worked as a law clerk.
Kristen became aware of many of the problems facing juveniles during her involvement with the Justice for Children Project at the Moritz College of Law. Kristen believes that the rehabilitative efforts of the juvenile justice system are ineffectual if juveniles experience abuse or are denied their right to education while they are incarcerated. Through Kristen’s work with EJF, incarcerated juveniles will have an advocate to ensure that the conditions of their confinement are conducive, and not injurious, to their rehabilitation.
Rachel Shapiro '06
Rachel Shapiro's project focuses on increasing access to special educational services for children with disabilities involved in the juvenile court system. She will be working with her sponsoring agency, Equip for Equality, to provide direct representation, legal trainings, and written materials for children in Cook County, Ill., who have unmet or inappropriately met special educational needs.
Rachel's project is funded by the Chicago Bar Foundation, the pro bono arm of the Chicago Bar Association, with goals of ensuring that juveniles' rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are being properly met by school districts, and that children are aware of their legal right to a free appropriate public education, both of which are part of a broader effort to reduce the recidivism rate in Cook County.
Tracy Simmons '06
Tracy Simmons will be working with the Children's Health and Education Law Project at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus to address the difficult problem of obtaining mental health services for children of low-income families (her fellowship is being sponsored by the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation).
In Franklin County, Ohio, over 900 parents relinquished custody of their children suffering from mental illness in order to gain access to mental health care services in 2004. By relinquishing custody for mental health care, parents lose the right to make critical decisions about their child's care and treatment. Additionally, children's underlying mental health needs are often compounded with feelings of abandonment and displacement when they are forced to leave their homes.
Tracy's fellowship will include 1) direct representation of children in low-income families seeking mental health care services who have been wrongly denied Medicaid or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) services and who are in jeopardy of being or have been relinquished to state care, 2) planning educational seminars for families regarding current and potential options for mental health care funding, and 3) collaboration with various community groups and service providers to develop a referral system and community outreach to address families' questions related to mental health care services and to refer potential legal cases. She will also be working with community groups to bring about policy changes at a state-wide level.
Lori Turner '06
Lori Turner is joining the Children's Initiative of the ACLU of Illinois for a two-year fellowship, sponsored by McDermott Will & Emery. Lori's work with the ACLU will focuses on identifying unmet educational needs of children in state care. Lori will implement strategies to assure that these children have adequate, stable education and mental health care services, and will be using existing agreements to petition the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to help children in state care meet educational goals.