Eleanor Kittilstad (JD ’18) Receives Prestigious Skadden Fellowship to Protect Rights of Chicago Students with Disabilities


Public Interest Students
Eleanor Kittilstad

Eleanor Kittilstad (JD ’18) has been chosen as a 2018 Skadden Fellow. Upon graduation, she will work for Equip for Equality, a Chicago-based advocacy organization providing legal services to people with disabilities in Illinois.

The highly-competitive program, described as “a legal Peace Corps,” provides fellows with two years of salary and benefits to do public interest work at a sponsoring organization. Kittilstad is one of 29 fellows receiving the award from the Skadden Foundation in 2018. Northwestern Law has had a Skadden Fellow for two years in a row.

At Equip for Equality, Kittilstad will work in the special education clinic, advocating for children with disabilities who are referred by Chicago schools to the police or to mental health services for common misbehaviors like pinching, kicking, or crying.

“I knew I wanted to find a job that was supporting kids in school to help prevent them from being pushed out into juvenile justice system or dropping out because they haven’t had a good experience,” Kittilstad says.

“I’ll be providing special education representation to elementary school-age children who are possibly missing school if they’re hospitalized or they’re really traumatized by talking to the police or to crisis workers and being taken away in an ambulance. The goal of the project is to make sure kids are getting the special education support that they need, and also deter schools from using these really traumatizing methods of excluding kids and punishing them for behaviors that are part of their disability.”

Kittilstad previously interned at Equip for Equality, as well as the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights as a 2017 Justice John Paul Stevens Fellow. She is a Chicago Bar Foundation Moses Scholar and the Articles Editor for the Law School’s Journal of Law and Criminology.

The Skadden Fellowship Program, established in 1988, provides funding for graduating law students to pursue their own projects providing legal services to the poor, the elderly, the homeless and the disabled, as well as those deprived of their civil or human rights.