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Law School and Southern Poverty Law Center establish post-graduate fellowship

April 24, 2017

Penn Law and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have created a new, two-year, post-graduate fellowship for a new or recent graduate to work with the SPLC’s Special Litigation Practice Group.

The Penn Law Civil Rights Fellow will serve as an integral member of the SPLC’s legal group, conducting legal research and analysis and developing theories to support new litigation projects and advocacy campaigns; drafting legal memoranda, pleadings, affidavits, motions, and briefs; interviewing witnesses and potential clients; participating in discovery and trial practice; and engaging in public speaking and attending meetings and conferences.

Founded in 1971, the SPLC is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC has won numerous landmark legal victories against white supremacist groups while protecting the civil rights of children, women, the disabled, immigrants and migrant workers, the LGBT community, prisoners, and others who face discrimination, abuse, or exploitation.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center is one of the organizations at the forefront of civil rights advocacy and litigation,” said Ted Ruger, Dean of Penn Law and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law. “This new fellowship will be an important avenue for our students to begin long-lasting, impactful public interest careers.

“Now, more than ever, we need public interest lawyers who are dedicated to representing those who face discrimination and injustice,” said Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, Associate Dean & Executive Director of the Toll Public Interest Center. “Through this partnership, a Penn Law graduate will serve on the front lines of the fight for civil rights. It is an extraordinary opportunity made possible by the generosity of our alumni, and we are truly grateful.”

The fellowship is being funded through the combined efforts of several Penn alumni. They include: Todd R. Snyder, L’88 and Phoebe Boyer; The Joseph H. Flom Foundation; Mr. David J. Loo, WG’87; and The Harry Shapiro Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation, recommended by the Shapiro family. 

Applications for this two-year position, which will be based in Montgomery, Alabama, are now being accepted. For additional information, go to:

Interested third-year students, as well as alumni from the classes of 2014, 2015, and 2016, should send a resume, cover letter, Law School transcript (unofficial transcript is acceptable), list of three references with complete contact information, and short writing sample (no longer than five pages in length) to Hillary Wiesel, Assistant Director of the Toll Public Interest Center at The deadline for applications is May 8, 2017.

Questions about this fellowship should be directed to Arlene Rivera Finkelstein at