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Next Tuesday, Emily B. Goldberg, a brand-new lawyer waiting to hear the results of her New York bar examination, will sit down with the general counsel of the New York City Board of Education to hash out an agreement to end the alleged historical pattern of sex discrimination in the city’s vocational-technical high schools. And Sandra M. Mu�oz, likewise waiting for bar results, is perhaps her own best example for the outreach program she has begun operating among immigrant, non-English speaking communities of Queens and upper Manhattan — Poder Latina (power to Latino women). Goldberg and Mu�oz, each with a passion for social justice, won two-year fellowships this year through the National Association for Public Interest Law. NAPIL vetted their project statements, which were in turn underwritten by a pair of blue chip firms, Shearman & Sterling and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. For Shearman, which is fully funding Goldberg’s fellowship and splitting the costs of Poder Latina with Simpson Thacher, the underwriting came from a natural source: a money award the firm won for its three-year pro bono effort in the celebrated 1995 federal decision in favor of Shannon Faulkner in her attempt to become the first female cadet at The Citadel in South Carolina. “It’s really made such a neat wrap-around for us,” said Saralyn M. Cohen, pro bono attorney for Shearman. “We wanted to get involved with NAPIL because it’s a wonderful program, and then we had this potential funding source. So we thought, let’s see if we can tie it all together to women’s issues.” NAPIL quickly obliged by sending Cohen the run-downs on the social justice causes of hundreds of young attorneys from across the country. “It was so hard to choose,” said Cohen. “We had to narrow it down to four or five. Then NAPIL sent a person to do the interviews with us.” Goldberg’s project proposal — seeking to end perceived gender inequities among the city’s 18 trade schools — hit “all the marks” that Shearman had set, said Cohen. Goldberg was placed at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., where Shearman has an office. Goldberg, 27, a May graduate of New York University School of Law, was a summer intern last year at the Women’s Law Center. She quickly found a place on the team seeking to end what it views as sexual inequality at public vo-tech schools around the country, focusing on the New York context at what she called the “best test case.” In an August letter to Chancellor Harold O. Levy, the Women’s Law Center decried what it called a “separate and unequal” system among the district’s 18 vo-tech high schools. The center claims that 13 of these schools were “highly sex-segregated,” steering girls to stereotypical, low-wage women’s jobs and failing to provide academic opportunities for girls on a par with those for boys. “At this point, we’re really going to find out how the board feels about what we’ve brought to their attention, and how to find common ground,” said Goldberg of next Tuesday’s meeting. “We got a very affirmative and positive response [from Chancellor Levy's office], saying they were prepared to take a serious look at the problems that give rise to these disparities,” said Jocelyn Samuels, vice president and director of educational opportunities for the Women’s Law Center. “I anticipate that we’ll make progress.” Catie Marshall, a spokesman for the Board of Education, said Goldberg and Samuels had “made some points that we found very sensible.” At next week’s meeting, Marshall said, “We’re going to see how we can work together to ensure the chancellor’s goal of providing equal educational opportunities for every child.” Goldberg said the schoolteacher careers of her mother and her aunt served as inspiration for her own work in sexual equality. “They were kind of forced into safe, convenient professions,” Goldberg said of her mother and aunt. “My mother would have been an amazing attorney. LATINA POWER As for Mu�oz’s Poder Latina, the project was a perfect fit for placement at inMotion, which until March of this year was known as the Network for Women’s Services. Shearman has had had a pro bono relationship with inMotion since its founding in 1993 by Catherine J. Douglass, a former partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Shearman’s partner in funding Mu�oz’s project was Mary Elizabeth McGarry, a Simpson Thacher partner who serves on the board of directors for inMotion. “This is an important project,” McGarry said of Poder Latina. “It’s been very inspiring, especially for the women who have been able to go through the pro se workshops.” Her work as a volunteer for inMotion led Mu�oz, 45, to complete her undergraduate college program and go on to CUNY School of Law, where she graduated last May. “I was working as a legal secretary,” she said. “But that was too corporate for me. At inMotion, I found my cause.” Mu�oz’s Poder Latina enables women of shaky immigration status to assert their rights in family court issues, such as child and spousal support and abusive treatment complaints. “Who needs empowering more than someone subjected to constant abuse, and being told they’re no good, they’re useless, they’re worthless?” Mu�oz asked. Worse, she added, being told that if they dared exercise their legal rights, they could be deported. “I deal with a lot of fear.” Douglass, executive director of inMotion, said of Mu�oz: “In essence, she personifies what we hope is going to be our message to many [non-English speaking] women — that they have enormous potential, and need to set their sights on goals that are important to them. “There are very, very few places for them to get services,” Douglass said. “Since we don’t rely on federal funding, we’re not restricted in our ability to serve undocumented people.” David Stern, executive director of NAPIL, was quick to praise Goldberg and Mu�oz as “very impressive.” “It’s wonderful to see young lawyers committing themselves to social justice work — and the firms, too, for taking on projects for that will make a difference in the world,” said Stern. “The firms don’t have to do this.” The NAPIL fellows, to be sure, will not get rich by their efforts. Stern said the first year salary is $32,500, with a bump in the second year to $37,500. Michael A. Cooper, a senior partner at Sullivan & Cromwell who has worked with Stern in the past, said: “The firms always like to rise to a challenge, and so this is a very creative way of persuading them to make a social contribution.”

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