For Summer Fellowship Recipients, Opportunities Abound in a Range of Fields


This year, 26 Brooklyn Law School students are the recipients of prestigious and competitive summer fellowships, giving them the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience, work with seasoned attorneys and judges, and delve deeper into their areas of interest in law. Fellowship placements include government agencies, non-profit organizations, judges’ chambers, and private practice, in New York City and abroad.

New this summer is the Government Honors Fellowships awarded by the Law School. This summer’s fellows are Allison Silber ’20, who is working in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern Division of New York, where she assists in trial preparation, participates in witness interviews and civil depositions, and does legal research and writing. Emily Dean ’20 is working at New York City Health and Hospitals in the Office of Legal Counsel, where she is researching municipal law, including statutory and legislative issues, to advise other city agencies. The fellowship was developed by Danielle Sorken, Executive Director of the Public Service Law Center, working with Nancy Zahzam, Director of Financial Aid, and Florence Attino, Associate Director of Financial Aid.

Anne Melton ’19 is the recipient of the Arthur Pinto LGBTQ Fellowship, awarded to a student for work at a non-profit or government agency that supports LGBTQ rights law or represents LGBTQ individuals. Melton is working at Demos, the nonprofit specializing in economic policy research and campaign finance and voting rights litigation, focusing on research projects that examine LGBTQ rights through the lenses of economic policy and election law. Demos recently named Professor K. Sabeel Rahman as its next president.

The Catalyst Public Service Fellowship, which encourages and enables law students to gain practical legal experience in the public sector, has been awarded to four students: Clint Carlisle ’20 is at the Office of the General Counsel, The City University of New York, where he conducts research and drafts legal memoranda in response to litigation proceedings involving the University and its campuses in Federal and State court; Lena Janoda ’20 is spending the summer at the Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Practice, providing legal representation to children before New York City Family Courts on matters related to child welfare, PINS (Persons-in-Need-of-Supervision) petitions, and termination of parental rights petitions. Kyleen Breslin ’19 is at Legal Aid in the Criminal Defense Practice where she shadows attorneys in all aspects of criminal court proceedings, learning how to develop the theory of a criminal case from arraignment through trial and assisting with trial and hearing preparation; Jessica Franzetti ’20 is at the New York Attorney General’s Office in the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit, where she conducts legal and factual research regarding incidents where a law enforcement officer caused the death of an unarmed citizen, or where there exists a significant question as to whether the civilian was armed and dangerous.

Thanks to the New York Council of Defense Lawyers’ Fellowship, Aleksandra Ciric ’19 is learning about the Bronx Defenders Criminal Defense Practice’s holistic defense model that seeks to address the causes and consequences of contact with the criminal justice system, in areas such as housing, employment, immigration, and family law issues. Ciric is training in all practice areas at the Bronx Defenders, as well as taking a weekly Trial Skills class while conducting legal research in preparation for trials.

As the recipient of the Kate Welling Fellowship for Disability Rights, awarded to a student who interns at a not-for-profit organization committed to providing legal assistance or advocacy for those with disabilities, Christopher Ehring ’20 is working at the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York’s Disability Advocacy Project. Ehring helps provide free civil legal services to people with physical and mental limitations and disabilities, including advocating for clients to qualify as disabled under the rules of the Social Security Administration and representing clients throughout relevant administrative hearings.

Three Brooklyn Law School students have been awarded the highly competitive City Bar Diversity Fellowship Program, sponsored by the New York City Bar Association Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Lawyers. Lana Alkarim ’20 is working at Morritt Hock & Hamroff LLP; Jermaine Cherry ’20 at American Express; and Kassandra Irizarry ’20 at New York Life Insurance Company. Since 1991, the fellowship has given diverse and talented students from New York City area law schools a rare and valuable opportunity to jump start their careers in the law by spending their 1L summer in a law firm or corporate/ government legal department.

Ten students have been awarded fellowships that fund judicial internships. After a rigorous selection process, Ruting Chen ’20 was chosen to receive the New York County Lawyers Association (NYCLA) 2018 Hon. Harold Baer Jr. and Dr. Suzanne Baer Minority Judicial Internship Program, which provides an opportunity for law students of color to be introduced to the judicial system. Chen is working for Hon. Barbara Moses, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), and past president of NYCLA, performing legal research, drafting bench memoranda, assisting with the preparation of jury instructions, and observing court proceedings.

Four Brooklyn Law School students are among the 12 students in the ABA Judicial Intern Opportunity Program working for federal judges in New York City. The program’s mission is to provide opportunities for members of racial and ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the profession—women, students with disabilities, the economically disadvantaged, and students who identify themselves as LGBTQ. Alina Islam-Hashmi ’19 is working for Hon. Elizabeth S. Stong, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York (EDNY); Janna Joassainte ’20 for Hon. Sarah Netburn, U.S. Magistrate Judge, Southern District of New York (SDNY); Muhammad Sardar ’20 for Hon. Lorna Schofield, U.S. District Judge, Southern District of New York (SDNY); and Jessica Simonelli ’20 for Hon. Colleen McMahon, Chief U.S. District Judge, Southern District of New York (SDNY).

The Sonia & Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program (formerly the Joint Minority Bar Judicial Internship Program, founded by Linda S. Lin ’03) was awarded to five students. The program places students from underserved communities and diverse backgrounds in judicial internships in state and federal courts in New York City with the goal of increasing diversity in the legal profession by educating and empowering students. Hon. Jeanette Rodriguez-Morick ’93, New York State Court of Claims, is past co-chair of the program. Yifeng Chen ’20, is serving as an intern with Hon. Doris M. Gonzalez, New York State Supreme Court, Civil Division, Bronx County; Monica Ferreira ’20 with Hon. Eric N. Vitaliano, U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY); Diego Gomez ’20 with Hon. Wilma Guzman, New York State Supreme Court, Civil Division, Bronx County; Michelle Jackson ’20 with Hon. Jacqueline B. Deane, New York Family Court, Kings County; and Lydia McFarlane ’20 with Hon. Dean T. Kusakabe, New York Family Court, Kings County.

For students who demonstrate a dedication to international human rights, the International Human Rights Fellowship Program offers a special opportunity to work abroad. This summer, Jean Paul Stefan ’19 is working in Colombia with the National Task Force on Disappeared Persons, Office of the Prosecutor General, and Alec Nelson ’19 is stationed in Malaysia with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. Through the program, students locate opportunities to engage in legal work under the supervision of an attorney for a non-governmental or inter-governmental organization focused on international human rights.