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    11.05.12 Prestigious Honors Awarded to Natalie Serra ’13 and Cassye Cole ’14
    Cassye Cole

    Cassye Cole '14

    The inaugural Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP Diversity Fellowship has been awarded to Cassye Cole ’14. As a Diversity Fellow, Cole will receive a financial award of up to $15,000, a paid 2013 summer associate position, and an assigned mentor at the firm for the remainder of her time in Law School.

    Cole was selected from a large, competitive group of applicants from law schools throughout the country, adding to a BLS career already packed with distinguished achievements. Currently, Cole is serving as an intern with Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. ’66 of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She spent last summer at the New York County District Attorney's Office as a NYC Bar Fellow. Cole also serves as a Lieutenant Governor for the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division and as the Director of Education & Career Development for the National Black Law Students Association.

    Cole holds a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Bachelor of Science in Criminology & Criminal Justice from Florida State University. Prior to law school, she lived in Costa Rica, where she taught English as a Second Language.

    Natalie Serra
    Natalie Serra ’13

    Natalie Serra ’13, an Edward G. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellow, won first place in the ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence’s annual law student writing competition. Her paper, “Queering International Human Rights: LGBT Access to Domestic Violence Remedies,” will be published in American University’s Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law. Serra was also selected to present her paper at the Mid-Atlantic Law and Society Association’s inaugural conference held in October.

    Serra’s note argues that survivors of domestic violence in same-sex relationships suffer from the same recognizable patterns of control and abuse at proportional rates as survivors in opposite-sex relationships. Since LGBT survivors experience the same breach of essential human rights to life, dignity, and bodily integrity when they are abused by their partners, she argues, same-sex domestic violence warrants the attention of the international community and should be incorporated into the international discourse on LGBT human rights that has been emerging and developing at the United Nations within the last two decades.

    Serra, who was a Women and Gender Studies major at the College of New Jersey, has immersed herself in public interest law while at BLS. She has been an intern at the Sanctuary for Families’ Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services LGBT Initiative and at South Brooklyn Legal Services’ HIV/Comprehensive Rights Unit. She is currently an intern at the Legal Aid Society’s Kings County Criminal Defense Office. “I grew up in a low income neighborhood and came to law-school to work in the public interest,” she said. “I hope to continue this work after I graduate.”