LSC, NYU Law Announce Helaine Barnett Summer Fellow

March 4, 2010


Washington, DC -- New York University School of Law and the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) are pleased to announce the selection of Renee Hatcher as the first Helaine Barnett Summer Fellow at the Corporation's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Hatcher brings a demonstrated interest in public interest law and substantial leadership experience to the fellowship at LSC. Her experience includes serving in a congressional office, completing an internship at the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and working at the NYU Racial Justice Clinic.

The Helaine Barnett Summer Fellowship Program at LSC will provide an opportunity for the Fellow to gain insights into federal funding for civil legal services through LSC, the single largest funder of civil legal aid for the poor in the nation, and the work of the 136 legal aid programs funded by the Corporation. The Fellow will learn about the different ways that LSC provides oversight to legal services programs through on-site program visits and other activities that ensure the programs provide high-quality legal services in compliance with LSC regulations and congressional requirements. The Fellow will also gain insight into the congressional relations and public affairs activities of LSC, including the federal funding process.

The Fellowship was established in December 2009, at the end of Ms. Barnett's six years as LSC president. The Corporation's Board of Directors established the summer fellowship program with funds from the LSC President's Discretionary Fund that remained from a generous gift of a private donor. The Board then named the fellowship in honor of Helaine Barnett.

"I am very pleased that this Fellowship awarded in my honor will provide this unique opportunity for a law student at the NYU School of Law who is interested in pursuing a public interest law career," Ms. Barnett said. "Having devoted my entire career of over forty years to the provision of civil legal services to the poor, it is very meaningful to me to make this opportunity available and demonstrates, in some small way, my gratitude to the NYU School of Law, which prepared me for a public interest career devoted to trying to ensure equal access to justice."

The Fellowship Program, Ms. Barnett said, "will provide a legal services experience that is different than the more traditional direct services summer experiences and will expose the Fellow to an understanding of the national equal justice community. This is also an opportunity for the Fellow to expand their leadership development, which is so important to new advocates for whatever career choices they make after law school."

"During my presidency at LSC, I was pleased to create and implement a leadership mentoring pilot project and saw firsthand the meaningful difference that exposure to leadership opportunities and mentorship relationships can make," Ms. Barnett added.

The Fellow will be mentored and work under the direction of Karen J. Sarjeant, LSC's Vice President for Programs and Compliance, who participated in the interview and selection process for the inaugural Fellow.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.