AT&T Fellowship expands reach of Civil Justice Clinic

Russell and Keeler
From left: School of Law professor Sarah Russell and third-year law student Lindsay Keeler
March 7, 2014 - The Quinnipiac University School of Law's Civil Justice Clinic has received a $5,000 grant from AT&T Connecticut in support of its pro bono legal services work in the community. 

This is the third year that the clinic has received funding through the AT&T Excellence in Pro Bono Legal Service Award and Fellowship. The funding provides a stipend to a student fellow who spends 10 hours a week working in the clinic, supervising other law students and researching ways to expand the scope of the clinic's work. 

In the Civil Justice Clinic, law students work under the supervision of full-time faculty members Sarah Russell and Kevin Barry, representing low-income individuals who cannot afford counsel, and work on public policy projects to benefit disadvantaged communities. 

This year's fellow is Lindsay Keeler of Sterling, Va., a third-year law student at the School of Law. Keeler, who has a strong interest in immigration law, has helped the clinic expand its services in this area of the law. Keeler has helped develop the clinic's practice in the area of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program started by the Obama administration in 2012 that allows undocumented people who came to the United States as children to remain in the country temporarily and receive work authorization.

Keeler's previous experience with immigration law includes internships with two New Haven-based nonprofits, Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services (IRIS) and Apostle Immigrant Services.  

"I've always had an interest in public interest work and a drive to help the underserved community," Keeler said. Through the clinic, Keeler says, "you see clients' lives change in a very real way." Keeler has also helped the clinic develop its practice in the area of health law. 

"The AT&T Fellowship will greatly assist us as we plan our move to North Haven and explore possible collaborations and partnerships to assist low income clients with our new neighbors--the School of Medicine and Quinnipiac's graduate programs in the School of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and School of Education, as well as the master of social work program," Russell said. 

School of Law alumna Diane Iglesias, general attorney with AT&T's legal department and a participant in the company's Pro Bono Committee, became interested in the work of the clinic. Iglesias says the fellowship is designed to encourage law students to become involved with pro bono work.

"We are so grateful to AT&T and Diane Iglesias for giving Lindsay and students like her the opportunity to learn the importance of pro bono service and for improving the clinic's capacity to serve the legal needs of low-income clients," said Russell. 

Iglesias says AT&T actively supports pro bono work, both through the fellowship and by encouraging its attorneys to do pro bono work in their communities. Social responsibility is integral to AT&T's culture, and the company consistently participates in initiatives that enrich and strengthen the community. The company provides both financial resources and volunteer efforts in the communities they serve. 

"It's an opportunity for our in-house attorneys to use their skills and experience to focus on other areas of the law not normally associated with their everyday jobs, while helping those in need," she said. "It's something that we really think is important." 

In 2012, the Civil Justice Clinic received the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Project for its work in support of abolishing Connecticut's death penalty. In 2013, the clinic co-authored a report, "Youth Matters: A Second Look for Connecticut Children Serving Long Prison Sentences," with the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School on juvenile sentencing reform. 

Learn more about the work and accomplishments of the School of Law's Civil Justice Clinic.