2019 LL.M. Public Interest and Government Fellowships

Rayna Baum Lifson ’19 LL.M. Awarded LL.M. Public Interest and Government Fellowship at UnLocal


Rayna Baum Lifson ’19 LL.M.

Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees: B.S. in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, J.D. from Columbia Law School, and master’s in education from Rutgers Graduate School of Education

Experience: Willkie Farr and Gallagher LLP, summer associate; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, associate; Fieldston Upper School, teacher; Rutgers Graduate School of Education, interim adjunct faculty; Millburn High School, teacher; Newark Academy, teacher; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, intern; Legal Aid Society, extern; UnLocal, volunteer

Motivation: “I am in the process of making a career change from teaching high school to a law career focused on antidiscrimination. My new career builds on my teaching work that promoted social justice and helped people be their best selves, as well as past pro bono legal work. My fellowship with UnLocal will build on my lifelong dedication to youth and my longstanding commitment to ending LGBT discrimination.”

Goals: “This fellowship with UnLocal will help me launch my career as an antidiscrimination lawyer. I will take on increasing responsibility for cases, gain training in core skills pivotal to this work, and explore this field in greater depth. I will be able to take on many clients of my own (under the supervision of a senior staff attorney—an incredible lawyer, mentor, and humanitarian), build cases, coordinate with other professionals, advocate at hearings and other proceedings, and help many clients gain the asylum they need. The plight of refugees in our country is so important, especially in light of how many avenues have been closing. It is so important to me to represent vulnerable people and help them have their day in court.”

The office of Social Justice Initiatives (SJI) guides Columbia Law School students who want to pursue public interest work throughout their academic careers and after graduation. SJI also assists in the process of applying to prestigious postgraduate fellowships. Read about other 2019 LL.M. public interest and government postgraduate fellows.

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Published May 13, 2019