2019 Postgraduate Fellowships

Nicholas Narbutas ’19 awarded Fried Frank Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) Fellowship.

Nicholas Narbutas ’19
Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees: B.A. in creative writing, poetry from Columbia College Chicago and M.F.A. in poetry from Columbia University School of the Arts

Experience: Southern Poverty Law Center, intern; New York Legal Assistance Group, intern; Office of the New York State Attorney General, extern; The Legal Aid Society, extern; Columbia Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic

Motivation: “My 2L summer at the Southern Poverty Law Center stoked my deep interest in litigation—both in defending civil rights through impact litigation and in developing my craft as a well-rounded practitioner. My clinic, externship, and note-writing experiences have all been on immigration enforcement within the immigration court system. The work has prompted me to engage deeply with questions around the different levels of due process and equal protection afforded on the basis of immigration status within our legal system.”

Goals: “Policies such as the blanket detention of asylum seekers; state and local laws preventing access to employment, education, driver’s licenses, and housing on the basis of status; and the deputizing of local police to act as federal immigration officers make the very worst of xenophobia and racism manifest. They run counter to equal protection and due process and undermine the American promises of freedom and equal opportunity. Policies and practices of cruelty, designed to make life as difficult as possible by shutting people out of mainstream life and forcing them into a state of constant fear, are abhorrent and must be challenged at every turn. The Fried Frank MALDEF Fellowship is an excellent way to advance this cause.”

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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 the other 2019 public interest postgraduate fellows.

Published on March 18, 2019