Nine Graduates Secure Public Interest Fellowships


Public Interest Alumni
top row: Frances Harvey, Paul Jones, Kristin Hendriksen, Shane Henson; bottom row: Jamie O’Connor, Emma Clouse, Danielle Berkowsky, Charlie Isaacs, Allison Elder

Nine recent graduates will launch their careers in public interest through both national and Northwestern Pritzker 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 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. “Each of the students selected for these competitive fellowships has worked hard to acquire the skills and knowledge they will need to be talented and dedicated public interest attorneys,” said Cindy Wilson, clinical professor and director of the Public Interest Center at Northwestern Pritzker Law. “I am proud of all that they have already done and excited to see their advocacy for their clients and for social justice in the next year and in the years to come.”

To help talented graduates launch public interest careers, the Law School awards fellowships in the amount of $50,000, plus medical insurance coverage, to support one year of fulltime service as a lawyer at a nonprofit or government agency. The fellowships were secured through the McNamara Fund at the Law School, Equal Justice Works, and the Public Interest Center.

Equal Justice Works Fellows

Emma Clouse

Emma Clouse (JD ’20) is a devoted environmental advocate and has a unique EJW fellowship working with communities who have suffered under harmful environmental practices. With her fellowship, Emma will continue to build relationships with community organizations to understand the needs of the people. “I am eager to work alongside communities to affirmatively reduce environmental injustice and encourage sustainable development,” Clouse said on the Equal Justice Works website. Her host agency is Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

Allison Elder

Allison Elder (JD ’19, LLM ‘19) has dedicated her entire law school career to public interest. She received an EJW fellowship to serve South Carolinians who face legal resistance to reuniting with family because of past involvement with the prison system. Before her fellowship, she served as a law clerk for a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit during the 2019-2020 year. “As a mom myself, I cannot imagine anything worse than being separated from my son. Incarceration rips families apart—reentry should bring them back together,” Allison said on the Equal Justice Works website. In addition to her work with families, she is also collaborating with community partners to advocate for systemic reform. Her host agency is Root & Rebound Reentry Advocates, at their satellite office in Greenville, South Carolina.

Charlie Isaacs

Charlie Isaacs (JD ’20) will assist tenants in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood through his EJW fellowship. His work includes protecting low-income tenant families from abusive landlords and discrimination. As a tenant of Uptown himself, Charlie understands the growing problem of gentrification in the area and is working to protect those who suffer from it. “Neighborhoods are comprised not of buildings, but of the people who live in them,” Isaacs said. His host agency is Uptown People’s Law Center, located in Chicago, Ill.

Equal Justice America Fellow

Kristin Hendriksen

Kristin Hendriksen (JD ’20) received an Equal Justice America Fellowship at Legal Aid Chicago. Hendriksen has spent her law school career focused on serving the needs of clients in the working class, especially those facing employment and labor issues. She spent her first law school summer at the National Labor Relations Board, and her second at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As an EJA fellow, Kristin will serve unhoused and recently housed Veterans and their unique legal needs.

Northwestern Law Post-Graduate Fellows

Danielle Berkowsky, McNamara fellowship

Danielle Berkowsky (JD ’20) has been dedicated to prison reform and civil rights work throughout her Law School career. She spent her 1L summer at the Hague and her 2L summer with the People’s Law Office, working on police brutality cases. During her time at Northwestern Law, Danielle spent multiple semesters in the MacArthur Justice Center’s clinic, and committed her last semester to externing with Uptown People’s Law Center in Chicago. Danielle’s project with UPLC is focused on prisoner’s rights, which includes fighting for the interests of incarcerated individuals with mental health diagnoses and other disabilities that are not being appropriately handled by the Department of Corrections.

Frances Harvey

Frances Harvey (JD ’20) is a committed public interest student, with a particular interest in appellate defense and death penalty work. She spent her first summer working on mitigation work for clients on death row in Mississippi, and her second summer at the Legal Aid Society in New York City representing incarcerated individuals in prison conditions cases. She has interned during the school year at Uptown People’s Law Center and the Illinois Office of the Appellate Defender. Frances is symposium editor for the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, and has done legal research for Professor Meredith Roundtree and Professor David Shapiro on issues related to solitary confinement and prisoner homicide. Frances has secured Reprieve US, located in New Orleans, La., as her host organization. Reprieve’s work focuses on abolishing the death penalty and challenging international human rights abuses.

Shane Henson

Shane Henson (JD ’20) has been doing public service work even prior to law school, working on behalf of candidates for office as well as at the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. During his time at Northwestern Law, Shane worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and for the Civil Rights division of the DOJ. He has worked extensively in the Children and Family Justice Center and the MacArthur Justice Center and is articles editor for the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. His host organization is Legal Aid Chicago, where he will work in the Housing Practice Group, representing Chicago public housing residents in eviction cases, and defending tenants against nefarious actions by landlords.

Paul Jones

Paul Jones (JD ’20) has a passion for criminal justice reform and has dedicated his time to this cause throughout law school. During summers he worked for the Cook County State’s Attorney Office, Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s District Office, and the Office of Lt. Governor Julianna Stratton, focusing on criminal justice reform efforts. Paul spent the past year working for the MacArthur Justice Center. He is also the Associate Editor and Article Review Board Member of the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, and a Miner Moot Court semi-finalist. His fellowship position with the Illinois Justice Project will focus on criminal justice policy, and how the justice system can be impacted and reformed.

Jamie O’Connor

Jamie O’Connor (JD ‘20) has worked in numerous public interest positions during law school, including externing at the ACLU and the Civil Rights Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. In between externships, Jamie worked with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and Legal Aid of North Carolina. She was the associate editor of the Northwestern University Law Review, and team captain of the Williams Moot Court of LGBT Law. Jamie will spend her fellowship year as a staff attorney with Prairie State Legal Services in its McHenry Office, where she will do general legal services work.