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ABA Fellowships Boost Indigent Services, Encourage Public Interest Careers

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 20, 2009 – Four law students with financial support from the _ will provide much-needed legal assistance over the summer to organizations serving low-income and homeless persons, while gaining direct experience in a public interest forum.

The John J. Curtin Justice Fund Legal Internship Program, managed jointly by the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty and the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, will provide these students with a $2,500 stipend to work with legal organizations serving the under-represented. The summer fellowship program aims to both help homeless persons and encourage careers in the law that further social justice.

Recipients of the 2009 John J. Curtin Jr. Fellowship include:

  • Sean Burke of University of Minnesota Law School will intern at New Orleans Legal Assistance, where he will provide direct services to homeless clients as well as conduct public policy projects.
  • Rachel Ann Culley of University of Michigan Law School will intern at Greater Boston Legal Services, where she will assist with client interviews, perform research and writing assignments for her supervising attorney, and support efforts to increase the availability of low-income housing in Boston.
  • Ligia Rodriguez of New England Law will intern at Shelter Legal Services in Newton, Mass., where she will perform client intakes at Rosie’s Place and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center in addition to conducting substantive casework on behalf of homeless clients.
  • Rita Subhedar of Wayne State University Law School will intern at the National Housing Law Project in Washington, D.C., where she will work on projects designed to support the creation and preservation of low-income housing.

About the John J. Curtin Jr. Justice Fund
The John J. Curtin Jr. Justice Fund, a permanent endowment in the _ Fund for Justice and Education, was created to honor Jack Curtin, ABA president from 1990-91. In acknowledgment of his outstanding achievements, as well as the affection ABA members and staff have for Curtin, his colleagues in the association collected more than $100,000 within a year of his leaving office to establish the fund. Curtin’s long-standing dedication to issues of social justice and civil rights led to approval by the ABA Board of Governors to use the income from the Justice Fund to provide stipends to law students working to help homeless and indigent people.

With more than 400,000 members, the _ is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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