Meet the Sparer Fellows

  • New York University, B.A. in Politics 2008

    Kyle Antonelli came to Brooklyn Law School with an interest in criminal justice reform and a desire to broaden his exposure to the world of public interest law. He earned his B.A. in 2008 from NYU, where he focused on public policy issues related to poverty and social justice issues. Prior to law school Kyle took up internships at the Citizens Jury Project with the Fund for Modern Courts where he assessed the condition of New York State Courts firsthand and interviewed jurors about their opinions of the jury system. He also interned at the Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. There he researched policy issues related to wrongful convictions based on faulty forensic science, and his work contributed to legislative advocacy focused on reforming forensic evidentiary standards and the criminal justice system as a whole. As a Sparer fellow, Kyle looks forward to applying his legal education in the pursuit of social justice.

  • Boston College in 2006, with a focus in International Studies

    During her undergraduate career, Brigitte established interests in international criminal law and refugee issues while interning at various non-governmental organizations. In Santiago, Chile, Brigitte worked for a human rights NGO assisting victims from the Pinochet dictatorship. At Boston College, she was an undergraduate intern with the law school’s immigration and refugee clinic. In addition, Brigitte interned at the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, an NGO that advocates for international cooperation with a fair, effective and independent ICC. Prior to attending Brooklyn Law School, Brigitte joined the CICC as the Program Associate for three years. During the summer 2010, and with the support of Brooklyn Law School’s International Human Rights Fellowship, Brigitte pursued a legal internship at the United Nations Inter-Agency Project in Bangkok, Thailand. Currently, Brigitte has an externship with the Litigation team at the Open Society Justice Initiative, where she is conducting research on international human rights cases. Brigitte is a 2L.
  • Washington University in St. Louis, A.B. in History & Political Science, May 2009

    David’s passion for public service, and juvenile justice specifically, developed as a freshman at Washington University. During his undergraduate career, David interned for two summers at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. He spent his entire college career volunteering or interning at the St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center, teaching chess, working alongside the residents in the garden, and evaluating and assisting with the Center’s activities. David’s interest in politics and law brought him back home to Brooklyn Law School, where his experiences have helped him to combine legal advocacy with his desire to work with and for youth. David is currently the student member of the NYC Bar Association Committee on Juvenile Justice. He volunteers with formerly incarcerated youth through a weekly program run by the Children’s Aid Society and serves on the executive board of the BLS chapter of the Suspension Representation Project. David has interned with the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice and at Youth Represent. A 2010 recipient of Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest, Bergstrom Child Welfare Law, and Equal Justice America Summer Fellowships, David looks forward to spending his 2011 Sparer summer in Washington, D.C. at the Center for Children’s Law and Policy.
  • Boston University, BA in International Relations 2008

    Dorothy developed a passion for international human rights, refugee and asylum issues as a result of her focus on international conflict resolution during her undergraduate studies at Boston University. Prior to coming to Brooklyn Law School, Dorothy worked for international justice and development NGOs in Paris and Boston, specifically on projects that focused on justice reform in African nations and the promotion of civil rights for the African Diaspora. In 2010, Dorothy interned with the New York State Division of Human Rights, where she investigated and evaluated complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment in employment and housing under New York State’s Human Rights Law. She is currently interning with Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection Program, where she interviews refugees and prepares the cases of potential asylum clients for pro bono counsel to take on. Dorothy is also involved in the Immigrant Court Observation Project, a New York City law-student led initiative to attend immigration proceedings, document observations, and identify lapses in due process. Dorothy hopes to spend her summer broadening her exposure to immigration law practice, and cognizant of the devastating effect that criminal backgrounds can have on immigration decisions, she is particularly interested in working on cases or projects focused on the intersection of immigration and criminal defense.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A. in Public Policy, 2004

    Placement: Anchorage Legal Services Corporation, Anchorage, AK

    Erin Durkin has spent the last few years working at community development non-profits. Her first experience in the field began at Isles, Inc. in Trenton, NJ, where she learned that an integral part of successful community development is the promotion of self-reliance and empowerment. That experience brought her to the Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) in Brooklyn. There, she managed the Single Stop program, which provides public benefits application assistance and advocacy, legal and financial counseling, and free tax preparation to over 500 participants annually. By working with participants across FAC programming, she was fortunate enough to gain an understanding and interest in advocating for workforce development, affordable housing, and consumer protection. Erin decided to pursue a joint degree combining a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School with an M.A. in Urban Planning from Hunter College's Graduate Program in the Department of Urban Planning. Her hope is to promote smart and community-focused economic development with a concentration on ensuring the financial viability and opportunities of local residents. This summer, as a Sparer Fellow, she will work at the Anchorage office of Alaska Legal Services Corporation, which provides free legal services to low-income residents.
  • Brown University, B.A. International Relations, May 2003

    Placement: Orleans Public Defenders (New Orleans, La.)

    After graduating from Brown University, Nick started his pursuit of legal experience as a litigation paralegal at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, & Garrison LLP. in Manhattan. There he developed a passion for representing indigent clients while working on a Clemency petition and a successful Asylum hearing for two Kosovan refugee children. After Paul, Weiss Nick continued to pursue his interest in indigent defense at the Habeas Corpus Resource Center (HCRC) in San Francisco. There Nick represented death row inmates in their post-conviction habeas petitions. During his time at the HCRC Nick frequently visited his clients at San Quentin, and focused on developing challenges to their death sentences. This summer Nick is going to work as a Law Clerk for the Orleans Public Defenders Office where he hopes to participate in the criminal defense process at the trial level.
  • Harvard University, B.A. in History and Literature, June 2004

    Placement: National Employment Law Project, New York, NY

    Beccah began her public interest career at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, where she staffed a hotline for criminal offenders who were barred from jobs and public housing because of problems with their Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI). She worked for MoveOn in Scranton, PA on the 2004 Presidential campaign, and then joined The Right Question Project (RQP), a civic engagement non-profit that teaches people in low-income communities to build skills to advocate for themselves and participate in decisions that affect them. She then returned to direct legal services at Legal Momentum, where she coordinated the organization’s intake program, working with victims of domestic violence experiencing workplace and housing discrimination, and women working in nontraditional fields. That work led her to the New York State Senate where, as Director of the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, she helped draft legislation to protect victims of sexual violence from employment discrimination because of their status.
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.A. in Anthropology, May 2007

    Megan is committed to providing advocacy and representation as a public interest lawyer.  Her work is rooted in an interest in the ways globalization, migration and gender perpetuate and subvert each other. Megan has worked with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking in Los Angeles, where she helped match trafficking survivors with services and coordinated trainings to promote the identification and referral of trafficked individuals. Most recently, Megan has worked at the Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking Program. There, she developed and implemented a media outreach plan, helped maintain and strengthen international partnerships, coordinated trainings and worked on clients’ T-Visa and Asylum applications. Megan hopes to combine her background and legal education to facilitate a holistic, community-centered approach to advocacy for underserved populations.
  • Georgetown University, B.S. in Business Administration, May 2006

    Placement: Pace University, M.S.T. Childhood Education, May 2008

    As a Teach For America corps member, Daris Isbell spent three years teaching 7th and 8th grade special education and science in Brooklyn, New York. As an educator he realized that there are many barriers preventing students from receiving a quality education, especially students with learning disabilities. Too often students with disabilities are not properly evaluated, are not placed in suitable classroom settings, or are not receiving appropriate special education services. Daris decided to go to law school to gain the tools necessary to help change the way our public school systems treat special education students. This summer he will be interning with Partnership for Children’s Rights, which advocates for disadvantaged children in New York City and ensures that all students with disabilities have access to special education programs and services.
  • New York University, M.P.A., Specialization in Finance, 2008; University of Chicago, B.A. Public Policy, 2002

    Placement: Staten Island Legal Services, Homeowner Defense Project

    Jason Labate came to Brooklyn Law School (BLS) with a commitment to economic empowerment and community development. Prior to joining BLS, he worked in public service for seven years, first as the administrative director of a research center in Chicago and later in various roles in New York City Government. He became committed to economic empowerment and community development while concurrently working at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and pursuing a master degree from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. His work at the Health Department showed that the greatest determinants of health are socio-economic and his studies at NYU Wagner demonstrated that the wealth divide in the U.S. is getting more disparate. Jason joined BLS and the Sparer Fellowship to pursue economic empowerment for low-income communities in New York and across the country. He is dedicated to working with individuals and groups to access new capital and to identify and manage their existing assets effectively.
  • Georgetown University, B.S. in International Politics, May 2006

    Jane Li is interested in advancing international human rights through the rule of law and civil society engagement. While attending Georgetown University, Jane developed a passion for public service through her experiences as an advocate and activist.  Upon graduation, she worked at various non-profits and a political campaign before joining the Open Society Institute's Public Health Program.  She will spend her Sparer summer at the Beijing office of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which works to help China confront its environmental challenges and reduce global warming.
  • University of California, Los Angeles, B.A. in Psychology, 2006

    Placement: Placement: Lambda Legal

    Erika graduated from UCLA in 2006 having studied psychology and public policy, and came to Brooklyn Law School with long-standing interests in affordable housing, economic justice, labor and employment, LGBT issues, and civil rights work. Her on-campus involvements include serving on the Student Bar Administration, acting as a co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild chapter, and planning events for Brooklyn Law School's Race & the Law and Sex & the Law Conferences. In 2010, Erika was honored to receive both the Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest and Equal Justice Works/Americorps summer fellowships. She spent her first law school summer and fall of her second year working with the Brooklyn Branch of Legal Services NYC to provide assistance to economically-disadvantaged Brooklyn residents in housing and public benefits proceedings. There, Erika crafted a testimony presentation on housing discrimination that was introduced at an oversight hearing of the NYC Human Rights Commission. Through a partnership with Project FAIR and Legal Services NYC, Erika established a student-run pro bono project which enables students to work as advocates for recipients of public assistance. She has also worked as a judicial intern in the Housing Part of NYC Civil Court. As a Sparer Fellow this summer, Erika is thrilled to be working at the national headquarters of Lambda Legal, advancing LGBT civil rights through groundbreaking impact litigation.
  • Johns Hopkins University, BA in International Studies 2008

    Michael’s desire to practice public interest law began while he was living in Baltimore, MD and attending the Johns Hopkins University, where he graduated in 2008 with a degree in International Studies. Before attending Brooklyn Law School, he worked as a paralegal for two years at the Baltimore City office of Maryland Legal Aid, the largest provider of civil legal services in the state of Maryland. His work with the Telephone Hotline Unit gave him a well rounded perspective of the many challenges facing indigent populations within our communities and inspired him to attend law school. His next opportunity to engage in public interest legal work came in the summer of 2010 as an intern with the Legal Health Project of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG). NYLAG gave him an excellent opportunity to gain experience in a diverse array of legal areas and to foster his interest in providing direct client services to those in need. Michael is an active member of Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest (BLSPI) and serves on the organization’s Executive Board as a 2011 BLSPI Auction Co-Chair. He is also an advocate with the Unemployment Action Center through which he has represented clients appealing the denial of unemployment benefits. In 2010 he was awarded the BLSPI Public Interest Law Fellowship, and looks forward to working with the Sparer community.
  • Columbia University School of Social Work, M.S.W, May 2009
    Boston University, B.A. in Psychology, May 2006

    Placement: Guardian ad Litem, Kansas City, MO (pending)

    Throughout the pursuit of his social work degree, Brandon Novelli observed the successful blend of social work and law. While interning at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in the Victim Services Unit and at the Midtown Community Court, he noticed the complementary services offered by the attorneys and social workers.  Between those organizations, Brandon provided counseling and services to both crime victims and crime perpetrators in an effort to lower recidivism. This summer he will get the opportunity to apply his social work training to a legal internship by working for Guardian ad Litem in Kansas City. Guardian ad Litem advocates for abused and neglected children embroiled in the legal system.

  • Rosa Cohen-Cruz first developed an interest in going to law school by taking classes at Brooklyn Law School as an 8th grade Legal Outreach student. Since then, Rosa’s strong commitment to social justice has guided her academic studies and professional development. Rosa is widely involved in various student organizations, including acting as Community Service chair for LALSA, coordinating Street Law en Espanol; and as Community Development Co-Chair for BLSPI, coordinating the 2011 Race and the Law Conference. Through volunteer work at Wesleyan University, Rosa became passionate about Prisoners’ Rights and continues to pursue that interest in law school. During her summer internship at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (“SRLP”), Rosa worked with transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex individuals, some of whom were incarcerated. She was shaken by the systemic nature of their incarcerations and the extreme deprivation of basic rights many of them were forced to endure. This semester she is interning at Legal Aid’s Prisoners’ Rights Project advocating for incarcerated clients on a variety of issues. Rosa looks forward to working at the Center for Constitutional Rights as a summer 2011 intern, specifically on their Criminal Justice and Mass Incarceration Project.

  • Barnard College, B.A. May 2006

    Immediately after graduating high school in Amherst MA, Hannah served with City Year, an Americorps program, where she provided environmental education to elementary school students in Boston. At Barnard College she majored in Urban Studies with a concentration in Environmental Science.  Following graduation she was selected as an Urban Fellow for the City of New York, which placed her in the Park Department’s office of Management and Budget. From Parks she went on to be a research and education associate at Black Rock Forest, studying all aspects of their northeastern deciduous forest ecosystem. Coming to law school, Hannah sought to combine her science background with the law and become an environmental lawyer. Well on her way, she will spend her Sparer summer at the Eastern Environmental Law Center in Newark, NJ.
  • Boston University, B.A. in Public Interest Law, 2004

    After graduating from Boston University, in 2004, Will worked as a writer and editor at an alternative weekly newspaper, the Boston Phoenix. He left with vague plans to do something “good,” and was drawn to Brooklyn Law School because of its emphasis on public interest law. Since enrolling at BLS, he has worked on behalf of women — as an intern at Physicians for Reproductive Health and at the ACLU Women’s Rights Project — and refugees. He gained his first experience working with a client in BLS’s Safe Harbor clinic, where he represented a gay man from Jamaica seeking asylum in the United States.
Brooklyn Law School - Sparer Celebration

View photos from the Sparer Celebration.

Have questions? We have answers.

Sparer Fellowship Program
Marva Skeene
Brooklyn Law School
250 Joralemon Street, Room 800A
Brooklyn, New York 11201

Telephone: (718) 780-0351