Four 2017 graduates of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law have been named Post-Graduate Fellows: Heather Bowen, Omar Delgadillo, Arnav Dutt, and Kathryn Hogg. These fellowships are intended to help talented recent Northwestern Law alumni launch public interest careers. Each Post-Graduate Fellow receives a grant in the amount of $50,000, plus medical insurance coverage, to support one year of full-time service as a lawyer at a nonprofit or government agency.
Bowen (JD ’17) will join Start Small Think Big, a New York City-based nonprofit that provides legal, financial, and marketing services to low-to-moderate-income entrepreneurs to build businesses in underserved areas.
“This is in Harlem, the neighborhood where I grew up, and just seeing all the developments in the law and in the city will be one of the biggest takeaways that I’ll have from this fellowship,” Bowen says.
Delgadillo (JD ’17) will be working with the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project on domestic violence cases and on juvenile cases as a guardian ad litem.
“This is why I wanted to go to law school,” he says. “I wanted to be able to help people who could not typically afford services from a lawyer. I’ve seen people who have had to go to court unrepresented and I can’t imagine how much fear they have, especially if they have to go up against a lawyer.”
Dutt (JD ’17) will join the Hennepin County Public Defender’s office in Minneapolis, where he previously worked during his 2L summer.
“I think it’s the first step on the way to a long happy career as a public defender in the Midwest,” Dutt says. “Like a lot of other public defender agencies, they’re struggling to figure out their future. Their hiring schedule got pushed way back by a lot of political contingencies and this fellowship allowed us to get me back there.”
Hogg (JD ’17) will be working for the legal office of Kentucky Refugee Ministries in Louisville where she’ll serve both refugees and a broader immigrant population.
“I don’t think I would have been able to get a foot in the door at this agency without some initial assistance and support from Northwestern, so it’s really changed how I’ve been able to think about what my options are as an entry-level attorney,” Hogg said. “Being able to bring some resources into a market that’s underserved has been a privilege. I’m really excited to be a part of it and get some momentum in my early career.”
The Northwestern Law Post-Graduate Fellowships were created to help address the mismatch between demand for services and supply of talent. While there is a tremendous need for legal services in the public interest sector, there is a shortage of opportunity because of the lack of adequate financing. As a result, entry-level positions for public interest-minded recent law school graduates are scarce.
“It’s quite tough to find staff attorney jobs. There are a lot of agencies who are having trouble coming up with the money to fund new positions,” Delgadillo says. “I’m very thankful that Northwestern is able to give me this opportunity.”