Brooklyn Law School Students Selected for Prestigious Summer Fellowships

Each summer, Brooklyn Law School students are awarded coveted fellowships that offer opportunities to gain valuable professional experience, work with seasoned attorneys and judges, and delve deeper into their areas of interest in law. The following students join a long list of fellowship awardees from the Law School.

Victoria Phillips ’18 and Azizah Ahmad ’18 have been selected as the Law School’s two International Human Rights Fellows. In response to the urgent needs unleashed by the global refugee crisis, they will be working with refugees in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Ahmad has been the president of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association and active in public interest activities at the Law School. She will be working with the UNHCR Statelessness Unit. Phillips is the Co-Chair of the Law School’s ACLU chapter and has been active in the Brooklyn Law Immigration Society and in other public interest activities. She will be working with the UNHCR Durable Solutions Unit and Protection Unit.

Amanda Surujdeo ’18 received the Peggy Browning Fellowship, which provides law students with diverse and challenging work experiences fighting for social and economic justice to encourage and inspire students to pursue careers in public interest labor law. Peggy Browning Fellows are distinguished students who have not only excelled in law school but who have also demonstrated their commitment to workers’ rights through their previous educational, work, volunteer, and personal experiences. Minogue will spend the fellowship working at Workers Defense League in Manhattan.

As fellows in the American Bar Association Judicial Internship Opportunity Program, Ilanna Gibson ’19 will be working for Hon. Lorna Schofield, SDNY; and Daveed Audel ’19 will be working for Hon. Debra Freeman, Chief Magistrate Judge, SDNY. The ABA Judicial Intern Opportunity Program provides opportunities to students who are members of racial and ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the profession as well as students with disabilities, students who are economically disadvantaged, and students who identify themselves as LGBT.

Javionte Johnson’19 was selected for the New York County Lawyers Association’s 2017 Hon. Harold Baer Jr. and Dr. Suzanne Baer Minority Judicial Internship Program. He will be working for Hon. Anil Singh. The Internship provides a unique opportunity for law students of color to be introduced to the judicial system during a paid summer internship, and is administered by NYCLA's Committee on Minorities and the Law and accepts first- and second-year law students from New York City-area law schools.

Janae Cummings ’19 will spend a fully funded summer interning in the chambers of New York State Supreme Court Commercial Division Justice O. Peter Sherwood as the recipient of the of the New York Bar Foundation’s Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Diversity Fellowship. Cummings is the sole recipient of the fellowship, the purpose of which is to enrich and diversify the pipeline of up-and-coming commercial litigators in New York. Read more about Cummings here.

Tara Kelly ’18, Corina Lozada ’18, and Yota Okutani ’19 were recipients of the Sonia & Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program (formerly the Joint Minority Bar Judicial Internship Program). Kelly will work with Hon. Kathleen Tomlinson, Eastern District of New York; Lozada will work with Chief Judge Dora L. Irizarry, Eastern District of New York; Okutani will work with Hon. Diccia T. Pineda-Kirwan, New York Supreme Court, Queens County; and Hyatt will work with Hon. Margarita Lopez Torres, Kings County Surrogate's Court. Linda S. Lin ‘03 is one of the chairs of this program, and Hon. Jeanette Rodriguez-Morick ’93 is a past co-chair.

Justin Friel ’19 was named a Brehon Law Society Fellow. Friel will join The Brehon Law Society of New York and leading Belfast-based human rights law firm KRW Law LLP in Northern Ireland. His duties will include reviewing and reporting on current developments in KRW Law’s Legacy Litigation Department; communicating with Brehon members, Congressional members, and U.S. NGOs; collating a database of U.S. and foreign legal and human rights contacts; meetings with human rights organizations; assisting in the development of press releases and web postings for Brehon members and media outlets; and drafting memos for supervising attorneys, among other tasks.

Balfour Thompson ’18 received a fellowship from the New York Council of Defense Lawyers. He will be working for The Legal Aid Society, Criminal Practice, providing services to low-income families and individuals.

Kelsey Laing ’19, Tina Lin ’19, and Elizabeth French ’18 were recipients of the Catalyst Public Service Fellowship Program, which encourages and enables law students to gain practical legal experience in the public sector. Laing is working for the Federal Defenders of New York; Lin is working for Brooklyn Defender Services; and French is working for Bronx Legal Services.

Deborah Soh ’19 was named the Arthur Pinto Public Service Fellow for LGBTQ Rights, awarded to a student to work over the summer at a non-profit or government agency that works on behalf of LGBTQ rights law or represents LGBTQ individuals. Soh will be working for NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm, an active and prominent LGBTQ advocate.

Naomi Edwards ’19 was awarded the Kate Welling Fellowship. Edwards will be working in New York Legal Assistance Group’s Disability Advocacy Project. The Disability Advocacy Project works to ensure that eligible disabled individuals receive benefits under the Social Security Disability Program (SSD) and the Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI).

David Gelfand ’18 and Ken Zwerin ’18 received Veterans Rights Fellowships. Gelfand will be working at the Mental Hygiene Legal Services, representing and working with clients who have been civilly committed either voluntarily or involuntarily, due to mental illness, sex offense, or other reasons. These patients will be at various hospitals, including the VA hospital. Many of the clients who are veterans are committed in civil units within the VA, while some are hospitalized in non-VA settings. Zwerin will be interning at the San Francisco Public Defender’s office, working closely with the Veterans Justice Court, in the Superior Court of California for the County of San Francisco, providing diversion programs, as well as mental health and substance abuse services, vocational and academic skills building, and job placement and retention services for court-involved veterans.

Christina Chaplygina ’19 received the New York State Bar Association’s Kenneth G. Standard Diversity Internship, and will spend the summer working at Salesforce. She will work with the company’s legal team for eight weeks assisting with day to day responsibilities as well as longer-term projects. Her duties will include assisting with negotiations, contract evaluations, privacy issues, intellectual property matters, and corporate matters, and strategic collaborations with senior counsel. The NYSBA Kenneth G. Standard Diversity Internship Program’s goal is to increase diversity in corporate legal departments and create a network that will help sustain that diversity. Past recipients include Anita N. Aboagye-Agyeman ’11, who interned at Pfizer; Yamicha Stephenson ’12, who interned at the New York Power Authority; Irene Tan ’11 and Ilan Wong ’12, who worked at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority; and Angela Jun ’16, who worked at Pepsi Co.

Andrae Nelson ‘19 is the 2017 Blank Rome 1L Diversity Scholar. The Blank Rome Scholar is fully salaried New York Summer Associate and will receive, in addition to a regular Summer Associate salary, a $7,500 scholarship toward his or her second year at law school. In addition, assuming that the Scholar is offered and accepts a position to return to the Firm as a Summer Associate for a second summer, the Scholar will receive an additional $7,500 toward his or her third year of law school. The Scholar will also benefit from the active and committed training and mentorship from Blank Rome partners and associates throughout the program.

Ashley Augustin ‘19, Krista Gay ‘19, Amber Leary ‘18, and Aiman Tariq ‘19 have received New York City Bar Diversity Fellowships. The City Bar’s Diversity Fellowship Program gives students at New York City area law schools the opportunity to spend their 1L summers at law firms or in corporate or government legal departments. The candidates were interviewed by school faculty, and then a second interviewing panel that reviewed theirundergraduate and law school transcripts, resumes, personal statements, and legal writing samples. Augustin will spend the summer at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Gay at Perkins Coie, Leary at Heidell Pittoni Murphy & Bach, and Tariq at Dechert.

Paul Park ‘18 is one of the recipients of the 2017 New York Bar Foundation Antitrust Section Law Student Fellowship and is working this summer at the United States Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, Criminal Section, in New York City.

Jenna M. Canciglia ‘18 is a recipient of 2017 New York Bar Foundation Trusts and Estates Law Section Fellowship and is working this summer for the Hon. Robert J. Gigante in Richmond County Surrogate's Court.