Chinmay Sudhirkumar Kanojia ’20 LL.M. Awarded Global Public Service Fellowship

The attorney will work at Reprieve UK, an organization that provides free legal and investigative support to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Headshot of Chinmay Sudhirkumar Kanojia ’20

A 2019–2020 Human Rights LL.M. Fellow, Chinmay Kanojia ’20 LL.M. is a graduate of India’s National Law University Delhi. Before coming to Columbia Law School, he worked with some of the leading criminal defense advocates in New Delhi, India. He has represented individuals charged under India’s counterterrorism law and advanced Indian efforts in prison and sentencing reform, including the death penalty, through litigation and research efforts. As an LL.M. candidate, he was a member of the Human Rights Clinic’s Project on Counterterrorism and Armed Conflict in Yemen and Mental Health and Conflict in Yemen. He also assisted Professor Bernard Harcourt and Lecturer-in-Law Alexis Hoag in a post-conviction federal death penalty case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, as part of the Abolition: A Social Justice Practicum.

Why Reprieve UK: “My areas of interest at Columbia have been constitutional criminal procedure, sentencing policy, counterterror regimes, and punishments. The fellowship at Reprieve UK will allow me to bring my leanings in those areas to practice in the field of death-penalty and counterterrorism law. I aim to achieve a transformative impact on criminal justice systems by developing theories to support new litigation and advocacy strategies towards a common goal of abolishing and limiting the scope of the death penalty in the South Asia region.”

Fellowship Goals: “To bring strategic challenges to the death penalty ranging from mode of execution challenges to building international coalitions against the death penalty. I aim to understand the content and structure of counterterrorism laws in the region of South Asia, identifying similarities and differences, and exploring how the laws were drafted with a particular eye to any colonial legacies or the involvement of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee. I wish to challenge the use of vaguely defined counterterror laws, under which individuals are sentenced to death for lethal and non-lethal offenses, by resisting further dilution of criminal procedural safeguards. My fellowship year will allow me to develop a wide range of skills necessary to be a strategic and creative civil and human rights advocate and prepare for a career in social justice advocacy.”

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 2020 fellowship recipients.