Lowenstein Fellowships Support Public Interest Lawyers

Three exceptional graduates receive substantial financial assistance awards to repay their student loans and launch careers in public service.

When Columbia Law School Professor Louis Lowenstein ’53 passed away in 2009, his estate contributed $500,000 to the Law School’s Lowenstein Fellowship fund, which he and his wife, Helen, established in 1997. The fellowships—generous supplements to Columbia’s standard Loan Repayment Assistance Program—are awarded to graduates who’ve demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to social justice and human rights while at the Law School and who are embarking on public interest careers.

Daily Guerrero '17This year’s fellows are Jocelyn Cazares ’17, Daily Guerrero ’17, and Princeton Hynes ’17.

“We are thrilled to know they will be devoting their energy and talents to making the world a better place,” said Madeleine Kurtz, director of public interest professional development for Columbia’s Social Justice Initiatives.

Cazares is spending her first year after graduating at Public Counsel—the nation’s largest pro bono law firm—in Los Angeles. The daughter of Mexican immigrants who grew up in South Central Los Angeles, where she felt her community was ignored and treated unjustly, Cazares acquired extensive hands-on experience during law school: She had externships at the Bronx Defenders and the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and spent two summers at the Law Office of the Los Angeles County Public Defender.

At the Law School, Cazares was president of the Latino/a Law Students Association and a staff editor at the Columbia Journal of Race and Law. Elora Mukherjee, associate clinical professor of law, who supervised Cazares in the Immigrants Rights Clinic, describes her passion and commitment as “exemplary” and predicts she will “continue to excel” in her career.

Guerrero (left), who immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic when she was 6-years old, traces her interest in law to a childhood witnessing the power of legal advocacy to help immigrants and racial minorities overcome an array of challenges. During law school, she was a member of the Columbia Law Review, and she interned for the Bronx Defenders, LatinoJustice/PRLDEF, and Human Rights First. Guerrero was this year’s recipient of the Chadbourne Parke Fellowship at The Door, which provides comprehensive youth development services, where she will spend 16 months working on immigration and other civil matters. Then, in April 2019, she will begin a clerkship for Judge Edgardo Ramos of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Princeton Hynes ’17Guerrero’s other accomplishments include receiving the Black Law School Association’s inaugural Constance Baker Motley Scholarship. “Daily is at the top of the list of those devoted persons who are committing their life to pursuing public interest law,” said Rose Cuison Villazor, a visiting professor of law, who describes Guerrero as “smart, creative, open-minded and, above all, compassionate.”

Hynes is the Trustee Social Justice Legal Advocacy Fellow at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, where he focuses on strategies to improve criminal justice, economic mobility, and civic engagement in the city of Newark. While at the Law School, Hynes served as notes editor of the Columbia Journal of Race and Law and devoted himself to advancing racial and gender justice: He participated in externships with both the Bronx Defenders and the Domestic Violence Bureau of the Queens District Attorney’s Office. He was also a summer intern at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), working on fair housing, fair lending, affirmative action, voting, and death penalty matters.

Janai Nelson, LDF associate director-counsel, expects Hynes will be an outstanding public interest lawyer because of his “exceptional dedication to this work, his intellectual curiosity, and his commitment to continued professional development.”

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Posted on August 31, 2017

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