Thursday, May 21, 2009

The NAACP selects 6 students to participate in the 2009 Law Fellow Program

The NAACP recently selected six students to participate in the 2009 NAACP/Kellogg’s Law Fellow Program. Through a highly competitive selection process, the following were chosen for the program: Nicole Chong, first year law student at Florida State University College of Law; Noele Hosley, juris doctor candidate at the Southern New England School of Law; Noah Grabisch, first year law student at Boston College of Law; Annaleigh Porter, second year law student at Syracuse University College of Law; Malcolm Ruff, first year law student at the University of Baltimore, School of Law; and Sahmra Stevenson-Smith, juris doctor candidate at American University, Washington College of Law.

Initiated in 2003 by current NAACP interim General Counsel Angela Ciccolo, the Law Fellow program was created with the vision of developing future generations of civil rights attorneys. While this year’s fellows hail from diverse educational and geographical backgrounds, they share a common bond – their interest in civil rights law. Each fellow has a specific area of legal interest, ranging from fair housing and education issues, to employment discrimination and police misconduct.

The fellows will work for the NAACP at its Baltimore headquarters, and will engage in legal research, writing and strategy on issues related to NAACP initiatives such as criminal justice, education, housing, voting and civil rights and environmental justice. In addition, fellows will be expected to participate in the Lawyers Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Seminar at the NAACP National Convention. The NAACP will celebrate its 100th year at the Convention, and the fellows will serve as a link between the past and the future of the organization.

“Our law fellows play an important role in continuing the NAACP’s legacy as our nation's oldest and most widely recognized civil rights organization,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Like Charles Houston and Thurgood Marshall before, these students have exhibited the potential and the readiness to be catalysts for political, educational, social and economic change.”

The fellows’ assignments and responsibilities will be designed primarily to develop the participants’ legal expertise and leadership ability. Fellows will develop legal proficiency by preparing a research paper discussing strategies to advance the civil rights struggle. In addition, past fellows regularly interacted with influential organizations and individuals through a series of networking events. These interactions often resulted in increased opportunities to obtain judicial clerkships and other career opportunities in the legal field, and helped cultivate relationships with civil rights leaders and attorney advocates.

The Law Fellow program commences on May 27, 2009 and will continue through August 7, 2009.

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