MSU Law student receives two-year Fellowship from Skadden Foundation

Michigan State University College of Law third-year student Sarah Warpinski recently was awarded a two-year Fellowship by the Skadden Foundation. Warpinski is among a group of 29 graduating law students and judicial clerks nationwide who will receive support to devote the next two years of their professional careers to public interest work.

“MSU Law has a strong community of inspiring public interest, social justice students and graduates, and it's wonderful to have one of them recognized,” said Joan Howarth, dean of Michigan State Law. “Sarah is the first student in the history of the Law College to be selected as a Skadden Fellow.”

Warpinski is a founder of the Modern Abolitionist Legal Society at MSU Law and has been very active on human trafficking issues. During her Fellowship, Warpinski will work with Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. and the Family Justice Center of Northwest Ohio. Building on the collaborative six-county service model of the Family Justice Center, she will provide direct representation of victims of human trafficking and community education and training on human trafficking.

“The Skadden Foundation has a remarkable track record of launching new attorneys into meaningful public interest careers.  Sarah is a great selection and will be a strong addition to this legacy,” said MSU Law Professor David Thronson, a 1995 Skadden Fellow who taught Sarah at the Law College’s Immigration Law Clinic.

This class of Skadden Fellows will work in 10 states and the District of Columbia, focusing on issues ranging from the harassment of LGBT students in rural, impoverished regions of New York State to the foreclosure of homes of working poor Los Angeles families. In addition to Warpinski’s project, there are two additional 2013 projects focusing on trafficking for labor or sexual exploitation. The 2013 class of Fellows brings to 677 the number of academically outstanding law school graduates and judicial clerks funded to work full-time for legal and advocacy organizations.

“In recognition of the need to devote greater resources to achieving legal protection for human trafficking victims, I am honored to be named as a Skadden Fellow,” said Warpinski. “I am especially grateful for the guidance of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force, and the support of faculty and staff of Michigan State University College of Law, which enabled me to achieve this great honor.”

“With thousands enslaved each year in the Unites States, human trafficking is the greatest injustice our nation’s lawyers will face,” says Warpinski. “Each of us has a role to play in protecting victims of slavery, and I am grateful to Skadden for giving me a tremendous opportunity to do my part.”

The Skadden Fellowship Program, described as "a legal Peace Corps" by The Los Angeles Times, was established in 1988 to commemorate the firm's 40th anniversary, in recognition of the dire need for greater funding for graduating law students who wish to devote their professional lives to providing legal services to the poor (including the working poor), the elderly, the homeless and the disabled, as well as those deprived of their civil or human rights. The aim of the foundation is to give Fellows the freedom to pursue public interest work; thus, the Fellows create their own projects at public interest organizations.

Michigan State University College of Law, a leading institution of legal education with a long history of educating practice-ready attorneys, prepares future lawyers to use ethics, ambition, and intellect to solve the world’s problems. Michigan State Law offers comprehensive interdisciplinary opportunities combined with a personalized legal education, and is on an upward trajectory of national and international reputation and reach. MSU Law professors are gifted teachers and distinguished scholars, the Law College’s curriculum is rigorous and challenging, and the Law College Building is equipped with the latest resources—all affirming MSU Law’s commitment to educating 21st-century lawyers.