Celebrating the Skadden Fellowship Program’s 35th Anniversary!
For 35 years, we’ve provided two-year fellowships to recent law graduates pursuing a career in public interest law. To celebrate this milestone anniversary, we are delighted to share profiles of one Skadden Fellow from each year, who together illustrate the Foundation's extraordinary impact.
Director at California Civil Rights Department
Building off his Fellowship at Bet Tzedek representing low-wage workers in Los Angeles, Kevin went on to direct the organization’s Employment Rights Project, before joining state government, where he now leads California’s Civil Rights Department.
Attorney Advisor, Office of General Counsel, Civil Rights Division at U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Continuing his Fellowship project’s advocacy on behalf of transgender and gender-diverse youth, Alesdair recently joined the Civil Rights Division of the General Counsel’s Office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This Fellowship isn’t only about supporting the vanguard of legal advocacy, it’s a manifestation of our collective ability to create a more just future. The Foundation believed in me, but it also believed in the next generation of LGBTQI youth and their promise — that they were, and continue to be, worthy of protection.
Co-Founder and Executive Director at Foster Care Advocacy Center
Tara Grigg Green
Through her Fellowship, Tara identified that families in the child welfare system with especially complex needs required holistic advocacy both inside and outside the courtroom. She founded an innovative nonprofit, the Foster Care Advocacy Center, to do just that.
Texas can be an extremely lonely place to do public interest work, but the Fellowship community has given me the camaraderie and support I need to thrive in my field. I am able to reach out to colleagues who have worked on similar issues in different states and bring the lessons they learned to Texas. Through every stage of my career there have been people in the community eager to provide invaluable mentorship and guidance.
Claudia is a one of the nation's preeminent leaders in access to justice technology for the benefit of those without lawyers as well as for nonprofit and pro bono lawyers. She made online forms ubiquitous as a solution in the nonprofit/court space.
Being a Skadden Fellow was a definitive life-changer in my career. For women of color — and the mere 2% of Latina lawyers — minimization is a common experience at every point of our career. Colleagues and opposing counsel tend to discount our credentials and experiences. I was often asked when the ‘lawyer’ was joining because nonclients assumed I was a paralegal. Being a Skadden Fellow gave me internal reassurance that I knew what I was doing — and signaled to the world that the issues I was representing were real and not just, ‘Why are you making such a big deal about language access and language inclusion?’
The other incredible aspect of being a Skadden Fellow has been the ongoing support from the Foundation, as well as knowing other Fellows, following their work and being inspired by them and the articles they write. I have used rooms in the Skadden offices for meetings for my nonprofit team and have asked for advice from the director. I have worked with other Fellows, mentored new Fellows and helped law students with their applications and interviews. I have seen many become who they are meant to be. I am thankful for this and that Skadden does not tell us to ‘fit in,’ but instead to be real, to be genuine, to be ourselves and speak in our voice and to stand right next to those who have no voice, who are not powerful and who seek justice. That allowance for originality with steady support means everything.
Faculty Co-Director, Human Rights Institute/Columbia Law School
Sarah is a distinguished legal academic focusing on international law and human rights and is now nominated to serve as the U.S. judge on the International Court of Justice.
My Skadden Fellowship working with Caribbean sugar cane workers was critical in crystalizing my interest in international law and human rights, and in demonstrating that law can make a difference to real people, on the ground. Everything I have done since, in retrospect, has flowed directly from that transformative experience.
35 Years of the Skadden Fellowship Program: Meet One Fellow From Each Class