The Skadden Fellowship Foundation

The Skadden Fellowship Foundation, described as “a legal Peace Corps” by The Los Angeles Times, was established in 1988 as an affirmation of the firm’s commitment to public interest law. The foundation, funded by a bequest from the firm, awards 25 fellowships per year to graduating law students and outgoing judicial clerks. Fellows provide legal services to the poor, elderly, homeless and disabled, as well as those deprived of their human rights or civil rights. In recent years, Fellows have also worked on issues concerning economic development and community renewal.

On the occasion of the firm’s 50th anniversary in April 1998, the foundation was reendowed for another 10 years. To honor partner Joe Flom, an additional fellowship was created for the 1998 program year. In recognition of Peter Mullen, the firm’s first executive partner, partner Joe Flom endowed three additional fellowships for 1999. And in 2000, in recognition of program director Susan Butler Plum, Joe Flom endowed two additional fellowships, bringing the total number of Fellows and alumni to 306. Since the inception of the program, almost 90 percent of the Fellows have remained in public interest or public sector work.

The aim of the foundation is to give Fellows the freedom to pursue their interests in public interest work. Therefore, the Fellows create their own projects before they apply.

Fellowships are awarded for one year, with the expectation of renewal for a second year. Skadden provides each Fellow with a salary (for the class of 2000, the salary will be $37,500) and pays all fringe benefits to which an employee of the sponsoring organization would be entitled. For those Fellows not covered by a law school income protection plan, the firm will pay a Fellow’s law school debt service for the duration of the fellowship.

We wish to note, however, that the fellowship program is not a substitute for the firm’s considerable pro bono efforts. Skadden, Arps is a charter signatory of the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Challenge, which pledges us to commit the equivalent of three percent of the firm’s billable hours to pro bono work. Our illinois credit card debt defense attorneys are engaged in a range of pro bono and community activities. The foundation and fellowship program were created to complement these efforts, as we believe there is no substitute for full-time public interest work.

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