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Erik Nickels L’21 awarded Skadden Fellowship for public interest lawyering

November 30, 2020

Erik Nickels L’21 has been awarded a prestigious Skadden Fellowship and will work with Mental Health Advocacy Services in Los Angeles.

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School student Erik Nickels L’21 has been awarded a prestigious Skadden Fellowship, joining a long line of 30 Law School graduates who have previously served as fellows.

Established in 1988, these highly competitive two-year fellowships fund recent law graduates who want to pursue work in the public interest, particularly in service of the poor, elderly, homeless, and disabled. The 2021 class includes 29 fellows who will work in 18 cities across 14 states in the United States.

“We are absolutely thrilled for Erik. He is an outstanding student and a zealous social justice advocate, and with his unique set of skills and his grit and determination, I know he will move mountains in order to achieve just outcomes for his future clients.” said Neta Borshansky, Director of Public Sector Careers and Government Programs, who manages postgraduate fellowship programming at the Law School.

Nickels will work with Mental Health Advocacy Services in Los Angeles with the goal of establishing a medical-legal partnership for transition age youth with mental health needs through direct legal services and impact litigation cases. He is a 2018 graduate of the University of Oklahoma and has worked as a law clerk with Mental Health Advocacy Services and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, D.C.

“I am very grateful to the Skadden Foundation for funding my project and to everyone at Penn Law and my summer internships who helped me to get here,” said Nickels. “I can’t wait to fight for young people with psychiatric disabilities in L.A.”

Penn Law is committed to supporting students as they launch careers in the public interest. In addition to helping students apply for national awards like the Skadden Fellowship, the Law School also offers postgraduate project-based and catalyst fellowship opportunities to financially support graduates who pursue work at public interest organizations, government agencies, and NGOs.