As law firm associates and partners rejoice over their bonuses and profits, we urge you to keep in mind the importance of giving back this holiday season. The law firm of Skadden Arps certainly does, through its support of the Skadden Fellowships. It’s fitting that word of the new Skadden Fellows always comes out around this time of year.
In case you’re not familiar with it, the Skadden Fellowship program has been described as “a legal Peace Corps.” It was established in 1988, in honor of Skadden’s 40th anniversary as a law firm, and it supports graduating law students committed to public interest work as they embark upon specific projects at sponsoring organizations.
How many fellowships were awarded this year? Which law schools do the fellows come from?
It’s time for celebration of a different sort — time to celebrate, and congratulate, the latest class of Skadden Fellows. The winners of these prestigious public interest fellowships were just announced, as they are every December.
As explained in the Skadden Fellowship Foundation’s press release, the 28 new fellows are graduating law students or judicial law clerks who are devoting their careers to public interest work. They’ll be working for organizations located in nine states and the District of Columbia, “focusing on issues ranging from the health and safety of low-wage immigrant workers in California to representing Russian-speaking victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking in New York.”
(Baby Jesus would be proud of what they do. Unless they work for the ACLU and try to ruin his birthday.)
Who are the Skadden fellows for 2012? Which law schools produced the most fellows? And what’s different about this year’s program compared to past years?
Biglaw isn’t all about high-stakes mergers and bet-the-company litigation. Many Biglaw firms take their commitment to pro bono very seriously. Obviously, these firms need to pay the bills, first and foremost. But when they can, many firms do try to give back.
As many of you already know, Skadden takes that commitment quite a bit further, with its Skadden Fellows program. We highlight this worthy program every year. The Skadden Fellowships are for law school graduates who want to devote their lives to public service, and the firm makes a major financial commitment to its fellows. From the Skadden Fellows website:
Fellowships are awarded for two years. Skadden provides each Fellow with a salary and pays all fringe benefits to which an employee of the sponsoring organization would be entitled. For those Fellows not covered by a law school low income protection plan, the firm will pay a Fellow’s law school debt service for the tuition part of the loan for the duration of the fellowship. The 2011 class of Fellows brings to 620 the number of academically outstanding law school graduates and judicial clerks the firm has funded to work full-time for legal and advocacy organizations.
It’s a sweet gig if you can get it.
And if you take a look at the list of Fellows — perhaps you know some of them? — you’ll notice that quite a few of them attend the top law schools in the country….
The Skadden Fellowship Foundation, described as “a legal Peace Corps” by The Los Angeles Times, was established in 1988 to commemorate the firm’s 40th anniversary, in recognition of the dire need for greater funding for graduating law students who wish to devote their professional lives to providing legal services to the poor (including the working poor), the elderly, the homeless and the disabled, as well as those deprived of their civil or human rights. The aim of the foundation is to give Fellows the freedom to pursue public interest work; thus, the Fellows create their own projects at public interest organizations with at least two lawyers on staff before they apply.
Fellowships are awarded for two years. Skadden provides each Fellow with a salary and pays all fringe benefits to which an employee of the sponsoring organization would be entitled. For those Fellows not covered by a law school low income protection plan, the firm will pay a Fellow’s law school debt service for the tuition part of the loan for the duration of the fellowship. The 2010 class of Fellows brings to 591 the number of academically outstanding law school graduates and judicial clerks the firm has funded to work full-time for legal and advocacy organizations.
The 2010 class of Skadden Fellows was just announced. Congratulations to the 27 winners, selected from 20 different law schools. Yale had four, Berkeley (aka Boalt Hall) had three, and Stanford and Fordham had two each.
Check out their names, law schools, and sponsoring organizations — maybe you know some of them? — after the jump.
We’ve been writing about career alternatives for lawyers. With all the layoff news coming out of law firms these days, it’s good to remember that there are things you can do with a law degree other than working for a large law firm. Today, we’re touching on fellowship options for attorneys.
Of course, there are judicial clerkships, the ultimate “de-facto” fellowships for attorneys, and legal academia fellowships (aspiring law professors should check out TaxProf Blog’s compilation). But we are focusing on opportunities for mid-career attorneys, who may want to get away from Biglaw for a year or two, but ultimately want to keep on practicing.
We’re listing a few and encourage you to mention others in the comments. If you’re looking for interesting experiences, and don’t mind a dip in your salary, here are a few fellowships to consider:
Right now a heated debate is raging in last night’s open comment thread. The subject: public interest law, and the people who practice it. The debate is aptly summarized by this comment:
This comment thread is a microcosm of the unhappy lawyers out there. The big firm lawyers comfort themselves by telling themselves that public interest lawyers are incompetent, self-righteous, don’t make enough money, and sit around smoking pot and complaining about how little respect they get.
The public interest lawyers comfort themselves by telling themselves that big firm lawyers are egotistical, immoral, don’t do real work, and have sacrificed “real life” for money on the assumption that either they can just purchase love, friends and happiness, or that cocaine is an acceptable substitute.
For those of you who do follow public interest, here’s some important news: announcement of the 2007 Skadden Fellows!!!
These extremely prestigious fellowships, funded by Skadden Arps, are awarded to 25 outstanding individuals each year (selected from hundreds of applicants). The fellows spend one year — or two, if renewed — working on a project of their own design, at public interest organizations around the country. For more details, plus the history of the program, see here.
Skadden fellows don’t make a ton; the class of 2006 fellows earned a salary of $46,000. As one ATL correspondent bitterly notes, “They will make almost as much per year as those stupid third-year associates will get as a ‘bonus.’” But then again, from the perspective of the lucky organizations who get the help of fully-funded fellows, it’s found money.
The list of 2007 fellows is available here. One of the new fellows is Georgetown Law 3L Miriam Lederer (pictured at right), whom we had the pleasure of meeting at the recent Breyer-Fried event. A tipster described Miriam as a “raven-haired beauty,” and we concur in that assessment.
When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
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