Announcing the 2020 Public Interest Law Association Fellows

The University of Washington School of Law is proud to announce that 21 first- and second- year law students were named 2020 Public Interest Law Association Fellows.

The Public Interest Law Association at UW Law is a student-run organization dedicated to promoting legal work that serves the public and improves the quality of life for individuals in Washington and the world.

The 2020 fellows are Cassandra Baker, Cheri Barrett, Michelle Browne, Shiyun Chen, Austin Field, Kay Fuhlman, Rachel Gluckman, Katie Hardiman, Maya Itah, Emily Kawahigashi, Emily Krueger, Kate McCracken, Ysabel Mullarky, Ashleen O'Brien, Bill Schrader, Isabel M. Skilton, Eleana Stevens, Chrissy Svihus, Jaclyn Tani, Harley Tonelli and Carly Zipper.

Public interest law fellowships allow students to engage in life-changing work, not only for law students, but also for the underrepresented people and causes they support.

"PILA Fellowships support students as they learn how to provide responsible, comprehensive legal assistance to communities facing oppression and marginalization,” said Arianna Nord, PILA co-president and J.D. ’22.

“The incredible range of public interest areas represented by the PILA Fellows demonstrates how strongly the dedication to public service runs at UW Law,” she said. “The PILA Board couldn't be prouder of the vast network of students, faculty, staff and alumni whose commitment to public interest work at UW Law has made all of these fellowships possible."

The PILA fellowships were made possible by generous contributions from UW Law friends, faculty and staff. The summer fellowships allow students to pursue projects associated with public interest organizations, legal services offices, social service agencies, public defender officers, nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies and tribal entities.

"PILA's goal is to strengthen UW Law's public interest community and empower public interest law students at UW to better serve any community they practice in after graduation,” said Tess Rabin, PILA co-president and J.D. ’22. “This is only possible thanks to the generosity of the UW Law community. We are so appreciative that the UW community supports public interest students."

Learn about the 2020 projects

Cassandra Baker

Cassandra Baker, 1L

Northwest Justice Project

The Northwest Justice Project provides civil legal aid to low-income residents in Washington state. As an intern in the Seattle office's CHEER unit, Baker will assist with matters of consumer, housing, education and employment law. She will meet with clients, assist with legal research and collaborate with attorneys on case planning. She will also develop self-help materials for pro se clients as needed.

Cheri Barrett

Cheri Barrett, 2L

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) - Seattle Office

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is a nonprofit that provides legal services for unaccompanied immigrant children, advocates for policies and legislation that impacts the rights of unaccompanied minors, and administers a reintegration program for youth who return to their country of origin. Barrett will assist with time-sensitive cases of youth detained at the Office of Refugee Resettlement, administer eligibility interviews, prepare applications for immigration benefits or protections, assist with court orientation and docket preparation, and participate in hearings.

Michelle Brown

Michelle Browne, 1L

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project – Asylum Unit

The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project defends and advances the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, systemic advocacy and community education. Browne will help detained and non-detained immigrants file applications for asylum with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Immigration Court. She will represent asylum seekers at their asylum interviews and in their court proceedings under attorney supervision. She will interview clients to collect information about their cases and will provide ongoing case support by conducting research, preparing filings and gathering evidence.

Shiyun Chen

Shiyun Chen, 2L

The Legal Aid Society - Manhattan, New York

The Legal Aid Society has been at the forefront of public defense in New York City since 1876. The expansive reach of the Criminal Defense Practice runs from its dynamic advocacy of clients in court to its presence and partnership in communities. Chen will work alongside staff to protect the rights of the most marginalized and disenfranchised in society. She will support the organization’s community engagement, impact litigation and broader advocacy for increased fairness and humanity in the criminal justice system and its efforts to reduce the devastating and permanent consequences of system involvement for their clients.

Austin Field

Austin Field, 1L

Public Defender Association - Racial disparity project

The Public Defender Association is a Seattle-based nonprofit that advocates for the adoption of criminal justice policies that emphasize individual and community health, rather than punishment. As a legal intern with the PDA’s Racial Disparity Project, Field will support the PDA’s efforts to make Seattle a more just, diverse and inclusive city by improving police accountability and helping those impacted by discriminatory policing. He will conduct legal research, help prepare filings for litigation, and assist in the provision of direct legal services to clients and community members who may have experienced discriminatory policing.

Kay Fuhlman

Kay Fuhlman, 1L

Unemployment Law Project

The Unemployment Law Project provides low-cost representation and free consultations to workers who have been denied unemployment benefits or whose benefits are being challenged. Due to the current crisis, this work is more essential than ever. Workers in Washington are being laid off in large numbers and confusion over changes in unemployment have resulted in many being unjustly denied. This summer, Fuhlman will provide representation under attorney supervision, draft appeals and conduct research to help workers receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

Rachel Gluckman

Rachel Gluckman, 2L

Washington Appellate Project

The Washington Appellate Project is the only nonprofit agency in Washington handling appeals from the Washington Superior Court for those unable to pay for an attorney and is responsible for a third to half of indigent appeals in Washington state. Gluckman will work as a Rule 9 intern, providing pro bono legal services to individuals appealing from termination of parental rights, felony convictions, and civil commitments. She will work closely with attorneys to provide quality free legal representation to a client base that has been historically marginalized and denied access to justice, while also determining issues to appeal on pending cases, conducting legal research, and drafting briefs and motions.

Katie Hardman

Katie Hardiman, 1L

Federal Public Defender for the Western Washington District

The Federal Public Defender for the Western Washington District provides pro bono representation to individuals charged with federal criminal prosecution who otherwise cannot afford counsel. Hardiman will be responsible for researching cases and writing briefs, conducting intakes and interviews with clients and their family members, and shadowing attorneys in court. She will also work on pressing COVID-19-related issues, including seeking the release of pretrial clients, delaying surrender dates and new detentions and seeking compassionate release of elderly and sick clients.

Maya Itah

Maya Itah, 1L

The Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington

The Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington represents indigent people charged with federal criminal prosecution, often providing representation before a charge is filed and continuing to provide it through all stages of the proceedings. Itah will assist attorneys with legal research and writing, trial preparation, client interviews and the development of case or project strategies. Given COVID-19's spread in prisons, Itah will also assist with compassionate release motions for incarcerated people.

Emily Kawahigashi

Emily Kawahigashi, 2L

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project - Family Services Unit

The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project is an organization committed to defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services to low-income immigrants in Washington state, systemic advocacy and community education. Kawahigashi will support the Family Services Unit’s efforts to promote family unity and stability by assisting attorneys providing direct representation and community education to individuals applying for affirmative family-based visa applications and facing deportation. She will also work alongside FSU staff to provide representation for clients eligible for multiple forms of relief, such as a nonimmigrant visa for victims of crime.

Emily Krueger

Emily Krueger, 2L

Snohomish County Legal Services

Snohomish County Legal Services provides civil legal aid to those who cannot afford an attorney. There is no right to counsel for civil cases, yet low-income households frequently experience civil legal issues. Krueger will be an intern in Snohomish County Legal Service's Housing Justice Project, which assists people threatened with eviction in hearings at the Snohomish County Superior Court. As an intern, Krueger will help clients defend their cases and negotiate with their landlords so that they do not experience homelessness upon eviction. She may also help other departments within Snohomish County Legal Services.

Kate McCracken

Kate McCracken, 2L

Whatcom County Public Defender

The Whatcom County Public Defender represents indigent defendants for felony, misdemeanor and probation violation charges against adults and juveniles in Whatcom County Superior and District courts, as well as involuntary mental and alcohol commitments. McCracken will represent 15 to 20 clients with cases in Whatcom County District Court. She was born and raised in Bellingham and looks forward to returning to work in her home community.

Ysabel Mullarky

Ysabel Mullarky, 1L

Disability Rights Washington—Treatment Facilities Program

The Disability Rights Washington Treatment Facilities Program works to advocate for people who are involuntarily detained in Washington. The program advocates for facilities that effectively deliver treatment in humane and therapeutic conditions, in the most integrated manner possible, with effective and timely discharge planning that is consistent with available community services. Mullarky will monitor compliance with state and federal regulations, as well as provide some litigation support.

Ashleen O'Brien

Ashleen O'Brien, 2L

The Fair Work Center

The Fair Work Center is a hub for workers to understand and exercise their workplace rights, improve working conditions and connect with community resources. The organization provides pro se assistance to low-wage workers navigating administrative enforcement processes and maintains an active litigation docket in state and federal court. As an intern, O’Brien will be assisting with worker intake and counseling, individual case handling, policy research and community education.

Bill Schrader

Bill Schrader, 1L

Law Offices of the Public Defender - State of New Mexico - 12th Judicial District

The Law Offices of the Public Defender provides direct criminal representation to indigent clients charged with crimes within the state of New Mexico. In his internship, Schrader will work in the 12th Judicial District in Alamogordo, New Mexico. He will, under the supervision of a senior attorney, assist in the representation of clients in all phases of the criminal process from intake to the end of trial.

Isabel Skilton

Isabel M. Skilton, 1L

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project - Children and Youth Advocacy Program

The Children and Youth Advocacy Program at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project guarantees access to life-altering forms of immigration relief to children. Skilton will assist with the preparation of client cases, including filings for dependencies or vulnerable youth guardianships. She will also provide legal research and writing, conduct client interviews, and prepare immigration forms to support youth in a variety of cases, including asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, DACA, U Visa, T Visa and VAWA self-petitions. Skilton also will be available to assist in hearings before the Immigration Court.

Eleana Stevens

Eleana Stevens, 2L

Snohomish County Public Defender Association - Rule 9

The Snohomish County Public Defender Association Provides criminal legal representation to indigent clients in Snohomish County and provides representation to members of the Tulalip Nation and residents in rural Washington Counties. Stevens was attracted by the office’s strong female leadership and its reputation for taking many cases to trial, fighting for client-first advocacy in every kind of case. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a backlog of clients in need of legal representation. Stevens will help clients share their stories.

Chrissy Svihus

Chrissy Svihus, 1L

Unemployment Law Project

The Unemployment Law Project provides access to the legal system through low-cost and free legal assistance for workers in Washington who have been denied unemployment benefits, or whose award of benefits has been challenged. This representation helps traditionally underrepresented members of the community obtain financial stability during a time of need. Svihus will provide representation under attorney supervision, as well as conduct research, draft petitions and make legal arguments at hearings.

Jaclyn Tani

Jaclyn Tani, 1L

Fair and Just Prosecution

Fair and Just Prosecution is committed to bringing together newly elected district attorneys who want to move beyond incarceration-driven approaches and implement innovative approaches to promote a fairer and more equitable justice system. Tani will work with the commonwealth attorney’s office in Loudoun County, Va. She will work with prosecutors on implementing reform-minded approaches, and her work will focus on gathering data to support the shift from punishment-driven prosecution and researching alternatives to incarceration.

Harley Tonelli, 1L

Public Defender Association

The Public Defender Association advances social and racial equity and community health through reform of the criminal justice system. Grounding reform in a public health and safety framework, the association develops new strategies and implements models that improve on conventional responses to crime and public order issues. As an intern with the Racial Disparity Project at the Public Defender Association, Tonelli will research and write legal memoranda, engage in individual representation of clients, work on current policy advocacy projects and assist in the preparation of filings for ongoing litigation.

Carly Zipper

Carly Zipper, 1L

Washington Attorney General's Office - Natural Resources Division

The Natural Resources Division advises and defends the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which manages 7 million acres of forest, range, commercial, agricultural, conservation and aquatic lands in Washington state. Zipper will contribute to research and writing for Endangered Species Act litigation, in which the division is defending DNR’s long-term conservation strategy for the marbled murrelet, a small seabird from the North Pacific. She also will contribute to regulatory actions under the Forest Practices Act, which provides substantive protections for forestland, including riparian zones vital to threatened and endangered fish, bird and other animal species.