NYC Public Service Fellowships

History of the Fellowships

The Kirkland & Ellis New York City Public Service Fellowships at New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School were established in 1995. Kirkland & Ellis LLP made a gift of $1,000,000 to New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School to provide an outstanding student from each school year the opportunity for a year of post-graduate public service in New York City.

Who can be a Fellow?

Each year, one Fellow is selected from the graduating class of New York University School of Law and one from the graduating class of Columbia Law School. The Fellowships are intended to meet serious human needs in New York City; the Fellow and sponsoring organization must be based within the five boroughs of New York City and the Fellow’s project must principally and directly benefit New York City residents. Fellows may create and fill a new position within an already-existing organization or pursue an independent project affiliated with a sponsoring organization. The Firm is committed to a broad and inclusive concept of public service.

Fellows are selected for their demonstrated commitment to public interest law and potential to make a contribution to the New York City community. Fellows will be selected without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, pregnancy or childbirth, personal appearance, family responsibilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, source of income, place of residence, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, genetic information, marital status, military veteran status, unfavorable discharge from military service, physical or mental disability, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

Terms & Salary

The term of the Fellowship is one year. Fellows for the 2024–2025 class will be funded at a salary of $60,000.

Upon completion of the Fellowship year, Fellows will be asked to submit to Kirkland & Ellis LLP a brief letter summarizing what they accomplished during the preceding year, how the fellowship year has impacted their future plans, and their contact information at their next job.

Selection Process

The selection process consists of a written application and interview. Download the application here.

The timetable is as follows: 

Application Deadline
February 5, 2024

Interviews Conducted
February 23, 2024
Fellowship offers will be made that day

Fellows Commence Work
September 2024

Recent Kirkland & Ellis Fellows

Hailey Cunningham, from New York University School of Law, and Laura McFeely, from Columbia Law School, were selected as Kirkland’s 2023–24 New York Public Service Fellows. Hailey is working with Manhattan Legal Services to advance the rights of youth whose intersectional identities (low-income, BIPOC and disabled) and unmet educational and behavioral needs often lead to absenteeism and school refusal. Laura is working with the Center for Appellate Litigation to provide client-centered advocacy on behalf of indigent New Yorkers and represent them in direct criminal appeals.

Andrea Green, from New York University School of Law, and Samuel Fishman, from Columbia Law School, were selected as Kirkland’s 2022–23 New York Public Service Fellows. Andrea worked with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund on the Trans Health Project to expand the scope of the project to include community education and impact litigation directed specifically at insurers to improve access to medical care for New Yorkers who are transgender. Samuel worked with the Center for Appellate Litigation Clemency Project to develop and submit clemency applications for New York City residents in detention due to criminal convictions or immigration status, as an avenue to free individuals from deportation consequences and excessive sentences.

Emily Sun, from New York University School of Law, and Elizabeth Orem, from Columbia Law School, were selected as Kirkland's 2021–22 New York Public Service Fellows. Emily worked with Her Justice to empower Chinese domestic abuse survivors in New York City to apply for immigration relief and served as a point of contact for additional services. Elizabeth assisted immigrant youth at The Door’s Legal Services Center (“LCS”) by providing advocacy in the areas of public benefits, Medicaid coverage, the family court system, and the public school system in addition to LCS’s current focus on immigration law needs.

Rebecca Suldan, from New York University School of Law, and Allison Langley, from Columbia Law School, were selected as Kirkland’s 2020–21 New York Public Service Fellows. Rebecca worked with the Bronx Defenders to assist clients who have successfully resolved prior claims brought to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Mistreatment, but whose records may still have lasting consequences for clients and their families. Allison worked with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance to support the interests of drivers, including through a clinic to address issues related to driver pay and lease overcharges.

Selene Nafisi and Grace Li, from New York University School of Law, and Caroline Lowry, from Columbia Law School, were selected as Kirkland’s 2019–20 New York Public Service Fellows. Grace worked with The New York Civil Liberties Union to protect the constitutional rights of people on parole in the state of New York. Selene assisted undocumented youth in seeking immigration relief and developing new ways to challenge recent policy changes in conjunction with The Door: A Center of Alternatives, Legal Services Center. Caroline combated employment discrimination for survivors of sex trafficking and individuals who have limited convictions records at The Legal Aid Society’s Exploitation Intervention Project and Case Closed Project.

Ted Olds, from Columbia Law School, and Dany Greene, from New York University School of Law, were selected as Kirkland’s 2018–19 New York Public Service Fellows. Ted assisted the Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A to protect and expand affordable housing in North Brooklyn by representing low-income tenants against hostile landlords and working to create sustainable affordable housing solutions. Dany worked with the Bronx Defenders to establish the LGBTQ Project which will be dedicated to advocating for LGBTQ clients in criminal cases and related matters in hopes of improving their lives both in and out of court.

Emily Kenyon, from New York University School of Law, and Elena Rodriguez, from Columbia Law School, were selected as Kirkland’s 2017–18 New York Public Service Fellows. Emily worked with the Pace-Natural Resources Defense Council Food Law Initiative at Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law to provide direct legal services to local farmers, start-up food businesses, and nonprofit food justice organizations while advocating for food policy reform in New York City to increase access for low-income residents to affordable healthy food. Elena assisted Housing Works in providing essential legal services to low-income people living with AIDS at various legal proceedings that were essential for their survival including administrative fair hearings over public assistance benefits and holdover proceedings in housing courts.

Surbhi Sarang
, from Columbia Law Schoo,l and Alicia Nieves, from New York University School of Law, were selected as Kirkland's 2016–17 New York Public Service Fellows. Surbhi worked with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest providing support for the Transform Don’t Trash campaign, which strives to transform the commercial waste industry to create jobs, increase recycling, and improve conditions for sanitation workers. Alicia worked with to assist low-income New York City tenants with resolving issues with landlords and the housing courts.

Former Fellows & Sponsoring Organizations

In addition to the recent Fellowships described elsewhere in this brochure, Fellows have worked on a wide variety of projects benefiting New York City’s underprivileged and underserved for over twenty years since the Kirkland & Ellis New York City Public Service Fellowships have been awarded. These efforts include:

Former New York University School of Law Fellows:

  • Diane Johnston: The Legal Aid Society
  • Shlomit Cohen: Bronx Defenders
  • Dahsong Kim: Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Jessica Rubin-Wills: Advocates for Children of New York
  • Christine Chiu: African Services Committee
  • Julia Dietz: Make the Road New York
  • Melissa Banks: African Services Committee
  • Jennifer Friedman: The Bronx Defenders
  • Amanda Lockshin: The Legal Aid Society
  • Zabrina Aleguire: The Door’s Legal Services Center

Former Columbia Law School Fellows: 

  • Madiba Dennie: Her Justice
  • Naz Ahmad: Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility Project
  • Sarah McCarthy: Children’s Law Center
  • Faiza Said: inMotion
  • Kate Moore: The Bronx Defenders
  • Shana Khader: New York Legal Assistance Group
  • Kate Stinson: African Services Committee
  • Anne Gell: Sanctuary for Families
  • Elizabeth Howell: Center for Appellate Litigation
  • Rachel Geballe: South Brooklyn Legal Services
  • Kate Wagner-McCoy: The Bronx Defenders
  • Franklin Romeo: Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund
  • Valentina Maria Morales: Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem

About Kirkland

With a global platform of approximately 3,500 lawyers in 19 cities across the United States, Europe and Asia, Kirkland & Ellis provides elite legal advice and a relentless commitment to client service. Kirkland is a market-leader in each of its core practice areas, including private equity, M&A and other complex corporate transactions; investment fund formation and alternative asset management; restructurings; high-stakes commercial and intellectual property litigation; and government, regulatory and internal investigations.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s New York office opened in 1990 with 12 attorneys. Since then, the office has grown to more than 900 lawyers.

In 1995, in celebration of its five year anniversary in New York City, Kirkland & Ellis LLP decided to signal its commitment to the community by giving something back to the City. The Firm also wanted to create an alliance that would enhance its already strong relationships with New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School and encourage a spirit of cooperation between the schools themselves. The Kirkland & Ellis New York City Public Service Fellowships were the result of this vision.

To Apply

For more information, please contact:

New York University School of Law
Public Interest Law Center

Columbia Law School
Social Justice Initiatives

Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Shanti Sadtler Conway