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Two Yale Law School Alumni Receive Fellowships from the Immigrant Justice Corps

Yale Law School alumni Ed McCarthy ’12 and Caitlin Miner-Le Grand ’13 have been selected as Justice Fellows by the Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC), the country’s first fellowship program dedicated to meeting the need for high-quality legal assistance for immigrants seeking citizenship and fighting deportation.

The idea of the IJC was first conceived by the Honorable Robert Katzmann ’80, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in response to the urgent need for legal representation of immigrants within the U.S. justice system.

McCarthy and Miner-Le Grand are part of the inaugural cohort of Justice Fellows. The Fellowships will run for two to three years and will include a comprehensive immigration law training program, bi-weekly professional development activities, and other activities to foster a network of highly skilled lawyers committed to working on behalf of the immigrant rights community.

Justice Fellows will be placed in New York City’s leading nonprofit legal services offices, which will be selected to participate in the IJC on a competitive basis. Launched in January, 2014 with a $1.4 million grant from the Robin Hood Foundation, the IJC will begin its work in New York City, with the hope that its model can be scaled to a national level in the efforts to reduce poverty and improve access to justice for millions of new Americans and aspiring citizens.

As a Justice Fellow, McCarthy will represent immigrants in affirmative petitions and removal proceedings at one of New York City's legal service organizations. Following his graduation from the Law School, Ed received a Liman Fellowship, which allowed him to work as a public defender and immigration specialist in the New Haven office of the Connecticut Public Defender. He is currently clerking for the Honorable Victor Marrero of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. McCarthy said, "I was inspired to pursue a career in immigrant representation by my father, a public interest attorney who spent his life fighting for the underdog. My clinical experience at the Law School and work as a public defender in New Haven, Connecticut demonstrated that there are no bigger underdogs in American society than our immigrants."

Miner-Le Grand is currently clerking for Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV in the Southern District of New York. Her interest in immigration law draws on a lifetime of experience with cross-cultural communication. "Before law school, I graduated from New York University with majors in Print Journalism and Spanish American Literature, and spent time living in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Bogota, Colombia," said Miner-Le Grand. "I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I went to the state's first two-way bilingual elementary school (La Escuela Fratney), and took bilingual Spanish language classes throughout my entire public school education before college. With my background, having the opportunity to serve as an advocate for immigrant rights feels like coming full circle. I'm thrilled to be part of IJC's innovative approach, which is designed for both impact and sustainability."