The Klau Center has announced its 2022 Summer Fellows, Notre Dame law students working in public interest organizations that promote civil or human rights, and/or the enforcement of federal rights on behalf of underrepresented minorities.
Sarah Barritt will serve as a clerk in Bet Tzedek's Summer for Justice program. "Bet Tzedek provides crucial legal services to low-income and marginalized groups in Los Angeles," says Barritt. "They assist victims of elder abuse, exploited workers, survivors of human trafficking, individuals who are facing eviction and houselessness, and more. I am honored to have been selected to be a part of this work, and am grateful for the opportunity to deepen my understanding of the institutional conditions that these individuals are facing as well."
Claire Crites will work with International Bridges to Justice. "IBJ works to increase legal capacity in developing countries all over the world," she says, "and I'm thrilled to be working with them. I'm really interested in using my legal degree to support civilians in conflict zones and working with IBJ will allow me to do just that."
Alexandra Lesnik will spend the summer with the Promise of Justice Initiative in New Orleans. "The inititative pursues death penalty abolition and prison reform through different projects that support incarcerated people and their families, Lesnick says. "The work they do addresses the variety of identities that people who are incarcerated may hold and focuses on honoring the dignity and humanity of all people who are incarcerated. I will be working with inspiring attorneys to promote and advance the dignity of all people, especially those who have been discarded and forgotten in a broken prison system."
Allison Morcus will be placed with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in Chicago. "I am excited to assist with the important work MALDEF is doing to defend Latino civil rights in the areas of voting rights, immigrants' rights, employment, and education," says Morcus. "By assisting with impact litigation and advocacy work, I will support MALDEF’s mission to defend the constitutional rights of all Americans."
Riley Realing will work with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project in Pittsburgh. "Exoneration work is important because regardless of guilt or innocence, incarceration is a traumatic experience," Realing explains. "But to endure such trauma for a crime you did not commit is an injustice that no one should face. Exoneration work's impact is two-fold: not only does it free innocent people, but it also identifies the systemic defects that cause wrongful convictions to bring substantive reform to our criminal justice system."
Now in its sixth year, the Klau Center Summer Fellowship program has previously supported work at the National Housing Project, the Sargent Shiver Poverty Law Center, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the US Department of Justice, among others. Fellows receive funding to assist with travel and living expenses, and upon return to campus, share their experiences with the wider community.