CUNY Law graduate Shirley Lin has been selected to receive a 2011 Skadden Fellowship, a national fellowship program established by the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to enable law graduates to pursue public interest work. For her two-year fellowship, Lin will work at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), providing legal representation and advocacy on behalf of low-wage Asian immigrant workers.
“We are thrilled that through the support of Skadden and in keeping with the mission of CUNY Law, Shirley’s exceptional talents will be used to benefit communities in need,” said CUNY Law Dean Michelle J. Anderson. “Shirley exemplifies the passion and dedication of CUNY Law’s commitment to serving the greater good. She and all of our students and alumni make us proud,” added Dean Anderson.
While at CUNY Law, Lin was a student in the Immigrant & Refugee Rights Clinic, where she worked on habeas litigation on behalf of detainees imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay and Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. CUNY Law consistently ranks among the top 10 law schools in the country in clinical training. Lin has also interned at the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Make the Road New York. Lin is currently a clerk for the Honorable Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Lin designed her project to address the unmet legal needs of low-wage Asian workers. For example, a recent study revealed that 85% of Asian immigrant workers reported experiencing overtime violations — the highest of any racial group. Lin plans on building upon AALDEF’s historic success in this area by partnering with community-based organizations to inform immigrant workers about the state’s new domestic worker law and their existing entitlements to minimum wage, overtime, breaks, and a workplace free from abuse. The project will develop workshops, language-appropriate know-your-rights materials, and legal strategies to protect worker organizing. The project will also address other critical issues workers have identified, including workplace discrimination and retaliation against individuals who assert their rights.
The Skadden Fellowship Foundation was established in 1988 in recognition of the need for greater funding for graduating law students who wish to devote their professional lives to providing legal services to the poor, the elderly, the homeless and the disabled, as well as those deprived of their civil or human rights.
Other CUNY Law Skadden Fellows include Jonathan Harris (2010), Tanya Kessler (2009), Ruth Cusick (2008), Hollis Pfitsch (2006), John Freeman (2004), Rebecca Price (2003), Ann Cammett (2000), Jaribu Hill (1995), Lori Nessel (1992), and Paula DiStabile (1991).