Brooklyn Law School is pleased to announce that seven first-year students were selected upon admission for the Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship Program. They are Torie Atkinson, Shannon Daugherty, Eric Eingold, Alexander Hu, Lauren Price, Massiel Ramos, and Amanda Shapiro all in the class of 2015.
“Preparing lawyers to work for social justice and the greater good has been part of Brooklyn Law School's mission since its founding over a century ago,” said Dean Nick Allard. “The Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship Program has earned nationwide recognition and is a key element in fulfilling that mission.”
Each year, a small number of entering students are selected for this program. Students are also selected in the fall semester of their first and second years of study. The core component of the Sparer Fellowship Program is a ten-week paid summer internship with a public interest organization in the U.S. or abroad. Fellows attend monthly luncheons that highlight current public interest issues and help plan academic events. The Sparer Fellowship Committee is comprised of many professors, each of whom have a strong commitment to public interest law and act as mentors to the Fellows.
The program was named in honor of Ed Sparer ’59, Professor of Law and Social Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania Law School who was named as one of “The Lawyers of the Century” by American Lawyer. He was a pioneer in the fields of poverty and health law until his untimely death in 1983. It was founded in 1985 by Rose L. Hoffer Professor of Law Elizabeth Schneider, the Director of the program, with support from then Dean David G. Trager and the late Bertram Bronzaft ’61, a colleague of Sparer’s at BLS.
The Fellows bring varied backgrounds and experiences to the Sparer Program.
Torie Atkinson graduated from Barnard College with a degree in English. Prior to law school, she spent four years as a paralegal with Friedman & Wittenstein, P.C., a small complex commercial litigation firm. However, it was her involvement in the Prison Law Project, a joint project of the National Lawyers Guild and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which sparked her interest in attending law school. Each week she read letters from prisoners who felt that their civil rights had been violated and she would send them information about how to file a claim against their prisons. She hopes to pursue work in civil rights, economic justice, and poverty law during her Sparer summer.
Shannon Daugherty’s work as a domestic violence advocate at the Erie County Family Justice Center and as an intern at the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo played an integral role in her decision to pursue a career in public interest law. Encountering determined, courageous, and often neglected clients made her want to advocate on their behalf and working with dedicated attorneys in this field confirmed her desire to dedicate her career to represent underserved populations. She attended Houghton College and majored in Sociology and Political Science.
“I am thrilled to be a Sparer Fellow because it will enable me to interact with and be challenged by like-minded students, professors, and professionals to accomplish my goals and fulfill my career aspirations,” said Daugherty.
Eric Eingold received a degree in political science with concentrations in Latin American Studies and African American Studies from the University of Central Florida. After graduation, he studied at The New School for Social Research, and received a Master's Degree in Politics. While at The New School, Eingold became interested in studying the complexities surrounding those who immigrate to New York City. His thesis was an ethnography he wrote while working alongside a group of undocumented immigrants in the kitchen of a popular restaurant. Their stories, struggles, and fears prompted him to study law so that he could ultimately utilize the law to help immigrants like those he met. Eingold is interested in the fields of immigration and racial justice, civil rights, and civil liberties.
“I am thrilled to join a thriving community of people committed to the public interest at Brooklyn Law School,” said Eingold, “and I look forward to continue my work in this area.”
Alexander Hu graduated from the New York University Stern School of Business with a B.S. in Finance and a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. After graduation, he founded and launched The Human Color, a social venture that addresses racial inequality through art and creative expression. He also worked as a volunteer and research fellow with ERASE Racism, a civil rights organization based in Long Island. During his time with ERASE Racism, he researched various issues affecting people of color ranging from home foreclosures to the education achievement gap. At law school, Hu hopes to study and understand what he considers the “American Dream Pipeline:" laws and policies on immigration, employment, and housing, and their impact on racial minorities. Hu hopes to gain tools and experience as a lawyer to apply to his pursuits in social entrepreneurship.
Lauren Price studied at Boston University, where she double majored in English and International Relations with a minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She cast a similarly wide net in determining her career interests, interning with many Boston area non-profits and learning about community development, economic justice, and urban planning. After serving as a fellow with LIFT Boston and receiving hands-on experience with advocacy, public benefits and housing, Lauren realized that a legal education would help her connect policy and theory with direct action and aid. She saw the Sparer Fellowship as a natural extension of these interests and aspirations. Lauren hopes to meet like-minded students and alumni in her fellowship and explore urban policy through the lens of social and economic justice.
Massiel Ramos, originally from the Dominican Republic, has lived in New York for over 15 years. She earned her undergraduate degree in Linguistics and Spanish Literature from Emory University. Her interest in public service came from observing disparities among different communities in the same area in which she lived in Lower Manhattan. Throughout high school and college she became involved in promoting higher education in underserved communities. She hopes to continue this focus after graduating from BLS.
“Through the Sparer Fellowship, I hope to continue to fight against the injustice and inequality that women and children face in our society,” she said. “I am really excited to have the opportunity through the fellowship to work with the communities I grew up in.”
Amanda Shapiro graduated Harvard with a degree in Sociology, where she focused on issues of economic justice and women’s rights. There, she observed the intersections of class and gender, and grew to appreciate the difficulties women endure even in the halls of privilege. Upon graduation, she joined Teach for America, and taught for four years at a public school in the South Bronx. In 2010, she expanded her education interests on an international level when she joined the non-profit, Haitian Support, in a service project to build a school in rural Haiti. Her experience working with a high-needs population and a predominantly female workforce led her back to women’s rights advocacy. She hopes, after graduating from BLS, to work in the area of women’s rights to close the gender pay gap, strengthen maternity leave, and protect women’s reproductive choices.