Law Dean Initiates Summer Public Service Fellowship Program

Margaret Sova McCabe, dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law.
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Margaret Sova McCabe, dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Under the leadership of Dean Margaret Sova McCabe, the University of Arkansas School of Law is launching a Summer Public Service Fellowship Program. The program provides paid public service fellowships to promising law students interested in public service careers and is part of the law school's broader effort to fulfill the university's land-grant mission. 

"Public service fellows create a win-win situation," McCabe said. "Our students perform meaningful legal work while making significant contributions to the community."

"We seek to provide opportunities for students who might not otherwise be able to afford to do so to engage in meaningful public service work, to gain invaluable experience working for employers outside of the area, and to use their legal education to make a difference in the lives of others," said Annie Smith, associate professor of law and director of the school's pro bono and community engagement program.

During her first year as dean, McCabe made it a priority to create a strong Summer Public Service Fellowship Program. First- and second-year law students are eligible for the fellowship, with preference given to first-year students and to those with an interest in, and demonstrated commitment to, public service. 

"Students, whether they enter public service or private practice after graduation, benefit from understanding how the legal system works in our state and across the nation," McCabe said. "Fellowships like this help them gain perspective on the system they are about enter as professionals. My hope is that their summer experiences help them become thoughtful practitioners who are committed to an excellent justice system."

For the summer of 2019, to date, seven fellowship positions have been accepted. Students Marion Humphrey, Alexis Acello, Molly Frakes, Clinton Summers, Nicholas Linn, Maria Baez de Hicks and Mitchell Dowden will spend their summer working for nonprofit, non-governmental and government entities that could not otherwise afford summer interns. 

The inaugural class of fellows will gain invaluable employment experience in Arkansas and beyond, including at the U.S. Department of Justice, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, the Campaign for Youth Justice, the Center for Arkansas Legal Services, the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, the Missouri State Public Defender and a United States District Court magistrate judge. 

"It is incredible to be able to offer this many fellowships to our students to help them launch careers in public service," Smith said. "Reading their fellowship applications was inspiring and I look forward to seeing all that they accomplish."

The fellowship program builds on the law school's experience with the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation Public Policy Fellowship. Last summer, Katie Rose Martin received the prestigious fellowship for her work with Home Restored, a rapid rehousing program for domestic violence victims in Northwest Arkansas. She was mentored by alumnus and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater (J.D. '80), who is a partner of Squire Patton Boggs in Washington, D.C. The firm has offices in 20 countries on five continents, with strong working relationships with independent firms in Europe and Latin America. Another Squire Patton Boggs Foundation Public Policy Fellow will be selected for this summer. 

In addition to the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation, funding for the Summer Public Service Fellowship program was provided by Tyson Foods Inc., the Raffaelli-Lineberger Fund, the Public Interest Litigation Fund and other generous donors. 


Darinda Sharp, director of communications
School of Law


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