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Twenty-six young lawyers representing 14 law schools around the country were named Skadden fellows last week — a two-year program that has been called a “legal Peace Corps.” Eleven of the fellows — sponsored by the Skadden Fellowship Foundation, an arm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — will work for New York city and state public law agencies. The firm will provide annual salaries of $37,500, as well as underwriting customary fringe benefits to which employees of the sponsoring agency are entitled. Among the New York fellows are Matthew Colangelo, 28, a recent graduate of Harvard Law School, and Joy Radice, 28, who will graduate this year from Harvard Law. In the highly competitive application process required of Skadden fellows, Colangelo won the backing of the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund with his proposal for impact litigation in matters of job discrimination faced by black welfare recipients returning to the work force. Radice will work for the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem in a program she designed to help ex-offenders return to ordinary life. “I come at this from two fronts,” said Radice, a new mother and Jackson Heights, Queens, native who is currently working as a researcher for Professor Derrick A. Bell Jr. of New York University School of Law. “First, from the civil rights perspective. Then in Cambridge, where I worked with women whose associations with the criminal justice system created barriers, employment and family reunification.” The widely criticized Family Reunification Act of 1999, she said, makes it more difficult for ex-offenders — especially women — to claim family rights due to the federal law’s reduced time standard for separation between parent and child. Radice said she would try to create a “new model” for holistic legal service to clients returning to civil society. Colangelo means to test discriminatory hiring practices he said have resulted from enactment of the federal Public Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reform Act. According to findings by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, blacks making the transition from welfare assistance are far more likely than whites to encounter dismissively short job interviews and are twice as likely to be quizzed about drug activity and criminal background. “Over the history of employment discrimination litigation during the civil rights era, the focus has gradually shifted from discrimination in hiring, which was the predominant focus 30 years ago, to other areas of employment such as promotions and harassment,” said Colangelo, a State College, Pa., native who is now a clerk for Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “The difficulty now for people transitioning off welfare is that they’re not even able to get in the door. I want to make sure they have the opportunity to go to work.” Both Radice and Colangelo plan public law careers, as have more than 90 percent of the 388 Skadden fellows since the program was launched in 1988. NEW YORK-BASED FELLOWS Other New York-based fellows, their schools and sponsors are: Oliver Chase, New York University School of Law — Legal Aid Society Community Law Offices; Shosana Eisenberg, Columbia Law School — New York Legal Assistance Group; Claudia Flores, NYU Law — Main Street Legal Services, Flushing, Queens; Salvatore Gogliormella, NYU Law — Lawyers Alliance for New York; Corene Kendrick, Stanford Law School — Children’s Rights; Nina Kohn, Harvard Law School — Legal Assistance of the Finger Lakes, Geneva, N.Y.; Sandra Park, NYU Law — Legal Aid Society, Bronx Neighborhood Office; Rebecca Price, City University of New York School of Law — New York Lawyers for the Public Interest; Camille Roberson, Columbia Law — Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Division; and Claudia Wilner, NYU Law — Urban Justice Center.

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