Skadden Fellowships go to two Michigan Law 3Ls

By John Masson, Amicus editor

Two Michigan Law 3Ls recently learned they’ve earned coveted Skadden Fellowships to fund their self-designed public interest legal projects for the next two years.

The Skadden Foundation awarded fellowships to Pat Mobley and Sarah St.Vincent as part of a program once described by the Los Angeles Times as "a legal Peace Corps."

Mobley’s project focuses on special education in the St. Louis Public School system. He'll work with the Children's Legal Alliance of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri to, according to the Skadden Foundation website, represent low-income students who are not receiving the education services they deserve, including students whose special education needs are going unmet and students who have been removed from school for disciplinary reasons.

St. Vincent’s project, only the third international project ever funded by the Skadden Foundation, will provide legal services for low-income migrant women in the U.K. who are survivors of domestic violence or human trafficking and wish to assert their fundamental rights under European law. She will work with the AIRE (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) Centre in London, which specializes in providing legal help to marginalized people.

The Skadden Fellowships, founded in 1988 by the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, are granted for two years and are designed to allow new graduates to work full-time for legal and other advocacy organizations. The awards are intended to encourage graduates to build public service careers based on helping poor, disabled, elderly, and homeless people, and other underserved groups.

Because the goal is to give new graduates the ability to pursue the public interest work of their choice, prospective fellows create their own programs as part of the application process. The Skadden Foundation reports that almost 90 percent of former fellows have remained in public interest or public sector work. St. Vincent and Mobley bring the number of Michigan Law fellows since the program’s founding to 28. This year, only Harvard and Stanford secured more fellowships, with five and three, respectively.

"We’re very proud of our students’ continued success in pursuing these highly competitive fellowships," said MaryAnn Sarosi, ’87, Michigan Law’s assistant dean for public service. "We’re grateful to the Skadden Foundation for once again rewarding exemplary Michigan Law students, who now have a chance to help advocate for people who otherwise might not have had a chance to be heard."