New fellowships expand public interest opportunities at Georgia Law, Students take summer placements in Georgia and around the world

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New fellowships expand public interest opportunities at Georgia Law
Students take summer placements in Georgia and around the world

Athens, Ga. – As the academic year comes to a close, the University of Georgia School of Law has announced the creation of three new fellowship opportunities, which combined with existing support will allow more than 20 rising second- and third-year students to take summer positions in the public interest arena.

Public interest fellowship recipients will spend the next few months working in legal placements including public defender’s and prosecutor’s offices, nonprofit agencies, a law school clinic and the U.S. Department of Justice. Three placements will take students overseas to Phnom Penh, Jerusalem and Bangkok.

“The students we are supporting in public interest placements this summer are the next generation of Georgia Law’s legacy of public service, which includes elected, judicial and nonprofit leaders who have made, and are continuing to make, an impact across our state and nation,” Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. “We are extremely grateful to those who have chosen to invest in these students’ futures both through their financial support and their engagement with our institution.” 

The three new fellowship opportunities result from a partnership between the law school and the Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Foundation, the creation of the Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic at Georgia Law and funding from the Melburne D. and Jacqueline K. McLendon Endowment. 

The Stevens Foundation, which was established by former law clerks of the retired U.S. Supreme Court justice, matches funds to support students taking summer public interest law positions. Two current faculty members and a Georgia Law alumna, all of whom who clerked for Stevens, served on the selection committee for this year’s recipients.

The Wilbanks CEASE Clinic was created in 2015 through a gift made by Georgia Law alumnus Marlan B. Wilbanks. It is the first law school clinic in the nation dedicated to the representation of survivors of child sexual abuse.

The McLendon Endowment was created by Melburne D. McLendon, a 1948 graduate of the law school and his wife, Jacqueline, to support legal education and training.

Ongoing public interest support includes the Edward D. and Carol J. Spurgeon Public Service Fellowship, funded by a former Georgia Law dean, and the Global Externship Overseas, administered by Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center. In addition, the Equal Justice Foundation, a student organization, raised funds through its annual auction to support 10 students interested in public interest law. 

Below are the recipients of 2016 public interest summer fellowships. The student’s anticipated year of graduation is indicated in parentheses.  

Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowships 
Recognize students for their commitment to public service and potential for excellence. 

  • Taryn L. Arbeiter (2018) - The Door, New York City, New York
  • Jennifer J. Cross (2017) - Orleans Public Defenders, New Orleans, Louisiana

Wilbanks CEASE Clinic Fellowship
Provides legal assistance to survivors of child sexual abuse.

  • John E. Farmer (2018)

Melburne D. and Jacqueline K. McLendon Fellowships
Provide funds for practical legal education and training in civil and criminal law. 

  • Tiffany L. Donohue (2017) - Access to Law, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Katherine L. Ekstrand (2017) - Office of the DeKalb County Public Defender, Decatur, Georgia
  • Fabian J. Goffe (2017) - New Hampshire Public Defender, Concord, New Hampshire
  • Harris R. Mason (2018) - Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Mishael K. Najm (2018) - Georgia Public Defender Standards Council - Appellate Division, Atlanta, Georgia
  • R. Larkin Taylor-Parker (2017) - U.S. Department of Justice, Disability Rights Section, Washington, D.C.
  • Hannah Mojdeh Williams (2018) - Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Edward D. and Carol J. Spurgeon Public Service Fellowship
Supports a rising second- or third-year student who has demonstrated a commitment to public service. 

  • Meredith L. Mann (2017) - Treatment and Accountability Court of Athens-Clarke County, Athens, Georgia

Global Externship Overseas
Provides international placements and exposure to the global legal profession.   

  • Brenny B. Nguyen (2017) - Boat People SOS, Bangkok, Thailand

Equal Justice Foundation Fellows
Student organization devoted to the promotion of public interest law. Raises funds annually to provide stipends to support summer placements

  • Kassidy L. Dean (2017) - Her Justice, New York City, New York
  • Bradley D. Dumbacher (2018) - U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division - Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, D.C.
  • Maria Kachniarz (2018) - St. Yves Society, Jerusalem
  • Faith A. Khalik (2017) - Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Kent J. Miller (2017) - Office of the Hall County Public Defender, Gainesville, Georgia
  • Ethan K. Morris (2018) - Office of the DeKalb County Public Defender, Decatur, Georgia
  • Chloe I. Owens (2017) - Office of the U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Georgia, Savannah, Georgia
  • Ryan H. Shriver (2018) - Office of the Hall County Public Defender, Gainesville, Georgia
  • Zeelita V. Smith (2018) - Office of the DeKalb County Public Defender, Decatur, Georgia
  • Sarah E. Willis (2017) - Office of the U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tennessee

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Contact:  Alexander W. Scherr, 706/542-6510, scherr@uga.edu

UGA School of Law
Consistently regarded as one of the nation’s top public law schools, Georgia Law was established in 1859. Its accomplished faculty includes authors of some of the country’s leading legal scholarship. The school offers three degrees – the Juris Doctor, the Master of Laws and the Master in the Study of Law – and is home to the Dean Rusk International Law Center. Georgia Law is proud of its long tradition of providing first-rate legal training for future leaders who will serve state and nation in both the public and private sectors. For more information, see www.law.uga.edu.