Eleven Graduates Secure Public Interest Fellowships


Public Interest Alumni Social Justice

Eleven recent graduates will launch their careers in public interest through both national and Northwestern Pritzker School of Law post-graduate fellowships this year. These graduates have dedicated their time and skills to causes ranging from environmental work to prison reform to public housing.

Northwestern Pritzker Law is a leader in preparing students for public interest careers and pro bono work, with an unparalleled focus on the advancement of social justice. “I am proud of these very talented graduates, who have built skills and knowledge needed to be effective public interest attorneys,” says Cindy Wilson, clinical professor and director of the Public Interest Center at Northwestern Pritzker Law. “They have dedicated themselves to working on social justice efforts while in law school and are ready to use what they have learned to advance public interest causes and make our legal system more equitable and just.”

To help talented graduates launch public interest careers, the Law School fellowships and external fellowships award students with competitive salaries, plus medical insurance coverage, to support one or two years of full-time service as a lawyer at a nonprofit or government agency.

Equal Justice Works Fellows

Misty-Ann Oka (JD ’21) will prepare formerly incarcerated individuals in Southern California to reunite with family, gain stability, and successfully reintegrate through direct legal services and public education workshops. During Oka’s Equal Justice Works Fellowship, she will strive to improve the well-being of system-impacted families through streamlined direct legal services (including representation in family, dependency, or probate court), legal workshops, and community education; mitigation of the negative impact of a criminal record on family strength and stability; and reduction of recidivism and multi-generational cycles of criminal justice involvement. Her personal history, work experience with youth and adults involved in the criminal justice system, and her connection to the social justice community in Los Angeles inspired this project. Misty-Ann’s host organization is Root & Rebound in Los Angeles.

Rosalind Dillon (JD ’20) will aim to dismantle arbitrary procedural barriers that derail prisoners’ civil rights actions through federal appeals attacking such barriers, amicus coalitions, and education for prisoners. Her experience at the Law School working alongside prisoners opened her eyes to the unspeakable horrors they face daily and motivates her commitment to building a legal landscape where prisoners can successfully seek justice for those horrors. Dillon will litigate federal appeals across the country on behalf of prisoners whose civil rights lawsuits have been thrown out because of the Prison Litigation Reform Act’s exhaustion requirement to create a more favorable law. Additionally, she will develop a coalition of diverse actors to co-write amicus briefs in order to persuade judges to change the way they approach exhaustion cases. Finally, she will teach prisoners about strategies to avoid common exhaustion pitfalls through an educational program at an Illinois prison. Rosalind will be at the MacArthur Justice Center in Chicago.

Social Justice Fellowship

Amelia Piazza (JD ’21) will be at the Social Justice Legal Foundation in Los Angeles. This inaugural fellowship was created and funded by the partners of Hueston Hennigan LLP, including Northwestern Pritzker Law alum Brian Hennigan. Amelia has served as a student-attorney for the MacArthur Justice Center where she was a junior co-counsel in cases raising constitutional and ADA claims against prison officials and in litigation promoting pretrial detention and parole reform. Piazza previously interned with the Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender and the Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts. She is the recipient of the Dawn Clark Netsch Public Interest Scholarship, a three-year scholarship awarded to a student who demonstrates a strong commitment to public service. During law school, she served as the Executive Articles Editor of the Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy.

Northwestern Law Post-Graduate Fellows

Keith Armstrong (JD ’21) has a passionate interest in immigration rights and has worked in this area throughout his four years at the Law School. He spent his summers at immigrant rights organizations, including Accountability Counsel, Human Rights Watch, and the National Immigrant Justice Center. He has been a student in three Clinic Centers: International Human Rights, the Children and Family Justice Center, and the MacArthur Justice Center. Armstrong traveled to the border three times during law school to work with the non-profit Al Otro Lado assisting asylum seekers. He has volunteered with the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, acting as a Child Advocate. His volunteer work with the student chapter of International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), leading a team of students working on adjustment of status cases, was honored by IRAP for its excellence. Armstrong’s host organization is the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), located in San Antonio.

Luke Fernbach (JD ’21) is a dedicated public interest student focused on transforming the criminal legal system and advocating for the rights of people who have been impacted by that system. Fernbach spent his first summer of law school and one semester with the MacArthur Justice Center, working with the Systemic Change Litigation Group. He spent his second summer at the Southern Center for Human Rights. He has also worked extensively with Professor Sheila Bedi in the Community Justice and Civil Rights Clinic. Fernbach’s work significantly contributed to several of the Clinic’s recent victories, including the release of 1,000 people from IDOC. He will now be working with the National Center for Youth Law in Oakland, whose mission is to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and youth by advocating for changes in our juvenile justice, immigration, child welfare, health, and education systems.

Reilly Frye (JD ’21) is a committed public interest student with a particular interest in immigrant and refugee rights. She has worked in this area throughout her four years at the Law School. She is currently working in the Resettlement Unit for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Texas, her host organization. She spent her last two summers working on immigration matters for Ayuda and Human Rights Watch: International Justice. Frye has spent four semesters in the legal clinic working on human rights and immigration matters, and she spent a week of her winter break in Tijuana assisting migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border. Frye will work in the UNHCR’s U.S.-Mexico Border Operation in El Paso.

Corinna Goodman (JD ’21) has been a dedicated public interest student, committed to advocating on behalf of immigrants and refugees. She spent her first summer at the International Legal Foundation and her second summer at both the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), and the Urban Justice Center, Sex Workers Project. She spent a semester working in the Immigration Law Clinic, and another semester in an externship with Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition, Immigration Impact Lab. Goodman spent a week of her winter break in Tijuana assisting migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border. She has secured the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington, DC, as a host agency. She will work in the U.S. Protection and Solutions unit, serving asylum seekers and refugees in the U.S.

Emily Jones (JD ’21) arrived at law school with a deep commitment to fighting for survivors of gender-based violence. During her first summer at the Law School, she worked for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in its Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Division. She is currently working for Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), which is her host organization. She has also worked in the MacArthur Justice Center, Civil Rights Clinic. She was a Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant for Professor Deborah Tuerkheimer, helping with her forthcoming book, Credible. At CAASE, Jones will continue her work on behalf of survivors of gender-based violence.

Addie McGuire – Gideon’s Promise Fellow

Addie McGuire (JD ’21) is a committed public interest graduate, particularly focused on addressing the harms of our criminal justice system. A former Teach For America fellow in Mississippi, McGuire has dedicated her time in law school, and now as a Gideon’s Promise fellow, to working on behalf of youth and families involved in the criminal justice system in the South. She spent her first summer in law school at the Orleans Public Defenders Office in New Orleans, and her second summer at the Colorado Public Defenders Office. She has worked during the school year at both the Cook County Public Defender’s Office and in Northwestern Pritzker Law’s Center on Wrongful Convictions. She served as Symposium Editor for the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology and as president of the Women’s Leadership Coalition, as well as a team member for StreetLaw. As a fellow at the Orleans Public Defenders Office, McGuire will return to a community she grew to love during law school and will continue to advocate for those in need as a public defender.

Dean Meyer (JD ’21) worked in numerous public interest positions during law school. He interned with the Illinois Environmental Counsel and has worked for two semesters in the Community Justice and Civil Rights Clinic. He has been an active volunteer with StreetLaw. His host agency is First Defense Legal Aid located in Chicago, which provides free legal counsel to individuals in police custody and litigates on behalf of victims of police violence.

Reynolds Taylor – Schuette Global Fellowship winner

Reynolds Taylor (JD ’21) came to law school with an interest in corporate accountability and human rights. She has developed her understanding of how the two interact through working with the Shriver Center, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, and the Impact America Fund. She worked in multiple clinics, including the Environmental Advocacy Center, Access to Health Project, and the Center for International Human Rights. As the Schuette Global Fellowship winner, her host agency is the Corporate Accountability Lab (CAL) located in Chicago, which works to hold corporate human rights abusers accountable through creative use of current civil laws, impact litigation and other legal tools.

Visit the Public Interest Center for more information.