UC Irvine Law Student Wins Prestigious Skadden Fellowship to Provide Legal Services to Disabled


IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 10, 2012—A UC Irvine School of Law student is among 29 recipients of a prestigious Skadden Fellowship for public service work.

Third-year student Andrea Smith won a Fellowship for her proposed project with Disability Rights Legal Center in Los Angeles, where she will help homeless youths with disabilities secure their legal right to education.

For two years beginning in fall 2013, the Skadden Foundation will provide each Fellow with a salary and fringe benefits to which an employee of the public service organization would be entitled. Fellows create their own projects at public interest organizations before they apply.

The Skadden Fellowship Program was established in 1988 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. The program recognizes the dire need for greater funding for graduating law students who wish to devote their professional lives to providing legal services to the poor, the elderly, the homeless, the disabled, and those deprived of their rights.

Smith said she is "very excited" to receive a Skadden Fellowship.

"This award was a collective effort on the part of many administrators, staff, faculty and students at UC Irvine School of Law and is a testimony to Irvine's commitment to promoting public interest law," Smith said. "I hope to live up to the high standards set the Law School by fighting to ensure that those who are most marginalized in society get the educational and legal services to which they are entitled."

Smith said she will work with Disability Rights Legal Center to enforce the legal rights to education for homeless youth with disabilities in Los Angeles County, as set forth under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, passed to ensure homeless youths receive an education, and the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, passed to ensure disabled youths get special education services.

"I will be developing advocacy materials specifically for homeless youth with disabilities, represent them in enforcing their rights, and participating in policy advocacy at state and federal levels," Smith said.

Media Contact: Rex Bossert, Assistant Dean for Communications, rbossert@law.uci.edu, (949) 284-3063

About UCI School of Law

UC Irvine School of Law seeks to create the ideal law school for the 21st century by doing the best job of training lawyers for the practice of law at the highest levels of the profession. Recruited from prestigious schools, the faculty ranked seventh in the country in scholarly impact in a recent study. The student body has overall admissions statistics comparable to those of student bodies at top 20 law schools. The school's innovative curriculum stresses hands-on learning, interdisciplinary study and public service.