11.25.19 — Two Northeastern Law students have been awarded two-year Skadden Fellowships, among the most competitive awards for law students pursuing careers in public interest law. Upon graduation, Emma Halas-O'Connor ’20 and Larisa Zehr ’20, both students who are recipients of the law school’s coveted Public Interest Law Scholarship, will join nonprofit organizations representing those with limited access to legal resources.

Emma Halas-O'ConnorEmma Halas-O'Connor ’20 will spend her Skadden fellowship at Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Portland, Maine, where she completed a co-op in winter 2019. At Pine Tree Legal, she will work to ensure that low-income tenants in rural Southern Maine have safe and affordable housing conditions by representing them in affirmative warranty of habitability actions. Prior to law school, Emma was an organizer and public policy advocate in Maine. She will co-op at Maine Equal Justice this winter and has also completed co-ops with Greater Boston Legal Services and the Boston Law firm of Segal Roitman. Emma has participated in the Poverty Law Clinic and Immgrant Justice Clinic at Northeastern Law. 

ZehrLarisa Zehr ’20 will spend her two-year appointment at the Legal Aid Justice Center in Falls Church, Virginia, where she will use individual representation, impact litigation, community education and policy advocacy to prevent the eviction and displacement of low-income Latinx immigrant communities in Northern Virginia. Before law school, Larisa worked with rural community-based organizations in Colombia, supporting and documenting their movement for human rights and systemic change. Through the co-op program, she has worked with the Center for the Study of Law, Justice, and Society in Bogota, Colombia; Community Legal Services in Philadelphia; and Southern Poverty Law Center in Tallahassee, Florida. She has participated in the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Clinic. 

We are thrilled that the Skadden Foundation will be supporting Emma and Larisa’s incredibly important and timely advocacy work with low-income communities in Maine and Virginia,” said Director for Public Interest Renay Frankel ’06. “These awards recognize Emma and Larisa’s hard work, and also demonstrate that Northeastern Law School continues to be a leader in training public interest lawyers committed to fighting for social justice on behalf of marginalized communities across the country.

About the Skadden Fellowship

The Skadden Fellowship Foundation, described as a “Legal Peace Corps” by the Los Angeles Times, was established in 1988 by the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom to support students who have shown exceptional promise in the field of public interest law.  The two-year fellowship gives fellows the freedom to pursue their interests in public interest work, providing legal services to the poor, elderly, homeless and disabled, as well as those deprived of human rights or civil rights. Only 28 individuals nationwide are annually selected for this high honor. To date, the foundation has funded over 800 fellowships. Ninety percent of former fellows remain in public service, and almost all of them continue working on the same issues they addressed in their original fellowship projects. 

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences. All students participate in full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 1,500 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. The future of legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.

For more information, contact d.feldman@northeastern.edu.