Fordham Law

Fordham Law Student Wins Prestigious Skadden Fellowship

December 17, 2010

Marni von Wilpert '11 has been awarded a Skadden Fellowship for 2011 – 2013. Fellows, selected by the Skadden Fellowship Foundation, pursue important post-graduate public interest work.Marni von Wilpert '11

Von Wilpert will join the Mississippi Center for Justice in Jackson. She will be involved in direct representation and impact litigation on behalf of people living with HIV/AIDS in the Mississippi Delta region who face barriers to the access of medical care, as well as unlawful discrimination based on their HIV-positive status, including housing discrimination by landlords and adverse actions by employers.

"Currently there are no legal service providers addressing the needs of people with HIV/AIDS in Mississippi," said von Wilpert. "This fellowship will allow me to partner with local legal and medical organizations to assist HIV-positive people and make a difference in this often overlooked region."

In directly representing people with HIV/AIDS, von Wilpert will advocate for their financial and medical benefits, housing rights and eviction prevention, employment accommodations, and against discrimination and breaches of confidentiality. She will also create Mississippi's first Medical-Legal Partnership to address the range of social, economic, and medical challenges that people with HIV/AIDS face.

"Marni's accomplishments at Fordham Law, particularly in the public interest arena, have been exceptional, and I am confident that she will make equally valuable contributions as a Skadden Fellow," said Professor Bruce Green, Director of the Stein Center for Law and Ethics. "I congratulate Marni for her dedication and commitment to practicing law in the service of others and look forward to following her progress in the South."

Von Wilpert has been involved in many public service projects at Fordham Law, including work with the Urban Policy and Legislative Advocacy Clinic and the Leitner Center's Crowley Program in International Human Rights. She has also served as Associate Editor of the Fordham Law Review and, as competitor on the moot court team, won Best Brief and Best Oralist awards in the 2009 Wormser Moot Court Competition. A particularly significant aspect of her Fordham Law education is her affiliation with the Stein Scholars for Public Interest Law, of which she was elected President in the fall.

"My fellow Stein Scholars really encouraged me to apply for a Skadden Fellowship and were especially supportive," said von Wilpert. "I feel very fortunate to be part of such a great community of public service–minded peers and have the invaluable support of the staff and faculty at our Public Interest Resource Center."

The Skadden Fellowship Foundation provides each Fellow with a salary and pays all fringe benefits to which an employee of the sponsoring organization would be entitled. The foundation was established in 1988 in recognition of the need for greater funding for graduating law students who wish to devote their professional lives to providing legal services to underserved and underrepresented communities. Since the program's inception, almost 90% of the Fellows have remained in public interest or public sector work.

Last year, Skadden awarded fellowships to two Fordham Law students, Elizabeth Joynes '10 and Daniel Hafetz '10.

Contact: Stephen Eichinger