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Public Service Ethos

BOLD AMBITIONS advanced the practice of public interest law at Penn, in Philadelphia, and across the globe. Every Penn student is empowered to pursue a career in public service, and all students experience the benefits of learning to lawyer through service.



The Langer, Grogan & Diver Fellowship in Social Justice, funded by a gift from Howard Langer L’77, John Grogan L’93, and Edward Diver L’99, G’01, GR’04, was one of five public interest postgraduate fellowships created during the Campaign. It supports a Law School graduate student beginning a career by serving low-income, disenfranchised communities. Abel Rodriguez L’11, an early recipient, immediately knew he would choose immigration law, the reason he had left a position as a Penn Spanish instructor to return to school. “This was the ideal way to launch my career: working on the issue I care about most; finding a good local partner, Nueva Esperanza; and using client skills I learned at Penn Law.” The Fellowship has been a springboard to his “dream job.” In fact, Rodriguez has two: working as an immigration specialist with the Defender Association of Philadelphia and as an immigration attorney for clients with criminal records at the Nationalities Service Center.




Shikha Bhattacharjee L’13 is determined to fight for social justice for marginalized communities in her native India. In Penn Law, she found the school to support her ambition. Among the first schools to mandate community service and establish a public interest center, Penn Law was the first of only two law schools ever to win the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award. Bhattacharjee continues this tradition as a Toll Public Interest Scholar, a program transformed by a gift from Robert Toll L’66 and his wife, Jane. “Campaign resources have deepened our commitment to service, enabling us to keep pace with our students’ exceptional vision and initiative” says Arlene Finkelstein, Assistant Dean for Public Interest Programs and Executive Director of the Toll Public Interest Center. “We’ve added scholarships, postgraduate fellowships, guaranteed summer funding, and more resources for students who pursue public interest careers. We’ve also expanded our Center to support all students working on pro bono cases.” “Financial support and loan forgiveness enable my education,” adds Bhattacharjee, “and the mentorship I receive as a Toll Scholar enriches it. I have a team of advisors invested in my development.” After graduation, she plans to return to India, where she is already working with organizations on casteand gender-based discrimination issues. “India still has the space to work on what is possible, not what is. Penn Law connects me to that space of possibility.”


Being Bold Testimonials