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Law School and Southern Poverty Law Center award new postgraduate fellowship to David Washington L’15

David Washington L’15 has been named the Penn Law Civil Rights Fellow, a new, two-year, postgraduate fellowship created by Penn Law and the Southern Poverty Law Center for graduating public interest students and recent alumni to work with the SPLC’s Special Litigation Practice Group.

Washington 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.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the nation,” 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 like David to begin long-lasting, fulfilling public interest careers.”

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.

Todd Snyder L’88, Executive Vice Chairman of Rothschild Global Advisory, conceived of the creation of the Penn Law Civil Rights Fellowship.

“This partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center will provide an opportunity for Penn Law graduates to begin their public interest careers at the forefront of civil rights advocacy,” said Snyder.

Most recently, Washington served as a law clerk to the Honorable Carmen Consuelo Cerezo of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida in 2009 and served in the Peace Corps before attending Penn Law.

“Penn Law trains lawyers to be powerful, impactful advocates for equity and fairness, but opportunities to engage in that critical work can be challenging to find,” said Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, Associate Dean & Executive Director of the Toll Public Interest Center. “Through the generosity of our sponsors, this partnership will enable David to have an exceptionally well-timed opportunity to serve on the front lines of the fight for civil rights.”

“We are very excited that David will join us this fall,” said Ebony Howard, Associate Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “The work he will engage in will be hugely instrumental in vindicating the rights of incarcerated people who do not receive adequate medical and mental health care, and others who face injustice in these turbulent times.”

The Toll Public Interest Center is the hub of public service at Penn Law. TPIC oversees Penn Law’s pro bono program, which harnesses the resources, talent, and expertise of Penn Law to deliver high-impact public service to local, national, and global communities.