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Quereshi Granted Skadden Fellowship for ACLU Work

DECEMBER 7, 2007 — Ajmel Quereshi (class of 2007) has been granted a Skadden Fellowship for 2008, one of only 35 lawyers chosen for the honor. He is presently a law clerk for the Honorable Chief Judge James G. Carr, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, and will begin his Fellowship in the fall.

The Skadden Fellowship financially supports students who show exceptional promise in public interest law, giving them the freedom to pursue a project of their own creation.

Quereshi will work at the ACLU of Maryland to combat anti-immigrant initiatives throughout the state that deprive undocumented immigrants of basic social services and target their ability to economically support themselves.

“While the Fellowship does seek people who have demonstrated a commitment to public service, I think my project’s receiving funding speaks directly to the direness of the situation, the scope of the injustice, and the need for relief,” Quereshi says.

Students must have a potential position at a sponsoring public interest organization before applying for a Fellowship. Each year, the Skadden Advisory Committee identifies top candidates from hundreds of applicants on the basis of academic performance, demonstrated commitment, project quality, and the effectiveness of the sponsoring organization.

Quereshi says he greatly appreciates all the work done on his behalf to secure the Fellowship, particularly letters of recommendation and other assistance provided by Judge Carr; ACLU lawyer Reginald Shuford; and the Law School’s Michael Tonry, Marvin J. Sonosky Professor of Law and Public Policy, and Kristin Hickman, Associate Professor of Law.

“I am humbled by the Fellowship and the company of others who have received it,” Quereshi says. His is the first Skadden Fellowship granted to a University of Minnesota Law School student.

Fellowships are awarded for one year, and most are renewed for a second year. Current Skadden Fellows receive a salary of $46,000, plus all fringe benefits provided to employees at the sponsoring organization.

Since the first Skadden Fellowships were granted in 1989, more than 500 high-achieving law school graduates and judicial clerks have received full-time support while they pursue their projects at legal and advocacy organizations.

The Skadden Fellowship Foundation was established in 1988 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. It was formed in recognition of the critical need for funding for law students wishing to provide legal services to the poor, elderly, homeless, and disabled and those deprived of their human or civil rights.

The firm’s hope is that Skadden Fellows will improve legal services to these populations through both their efforts and their example. Since the program’s inception, nearly 90% of Fellows have remained in public interest or public sector work.