Shareese Pryor, ’11, will pair with Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago on a project that will require her to work closely with government offices and community organizations in transitioning foster youth. Her project will focus on young mothers working toward independence and young men with criminal histories whose employment and housing options may be limited.
"Shareese is a fantastic example of the public interest-minded students we have at the Law School-- students who work hard to receive a top-notch education in order to help others," said Michael H. Schill, Dean of the Law School and the Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law. "We congratulate her and we are proud to call her one of our own."
Susan J. Curry, Director of Public Interest Law & Policy at the Law School, said Pryor will be an enormous asset to the hard-working attorneys and clients of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.
“We are tremendously proud of Shareese’s many achievements during her time at the Law School, and are especially pleased to congratulate her on being selected for the highly competitive Skadden Fellowship,” Curry said. “Shareese has been dedicated to public interest law throughout her law school career and I am delighted to see her commitment rewarded with this prestigious honor. This will give Shareese an exceptional start to what I am certain will be an impressive and meaningful career as a public interest lawyer.”
Pryor said watching a childhood friend struggle with transitioning out of the foster care system and an internship last summer at Cook County’s Office of the Public Guardian inspired her to develop her project.
“I noticed many teens face some of the same problems as my friend did,” Pryor said. “They scrambled to put their lives in order as much as possible before they aged out. Many of the issues and problems they faced, or would soon face once they transitioned out, were legal in nature. Yet no projects or programs exist in Chicago to provide comprehensive civil legal assistance targeted at youth aging out of foster care. I hope the legal advocacy I provide during my Skadden Fellowship will enable these young women and men to overcome the barriers to independence they face and lead successful and fulfilling lives.”
Pryor thanked Curry as well as Senior Director Lois Casaleggi and Director Leslie Hauser in Career Services, current and former Skadden fellows, Clinical Professor Randolph Stone and Jean Agathen at the Office of the Public Guardian for helping her in many ways throughout the application process.
Once called the “legal Peace Corps,” Skadden Fellowships are awarded annually to about 30 graduating law school students who show a devotion to entering a career providing legal services to the poor, elderly, homeless, or disabled. The fellows create projects at the public interest organization of their choice, and the foundation pays two-year salaries and all fringe benefits to which an employee of the sponsoring organization would be entitled.
Kathleen Rubenstein, ’10, was a Skadden recipient last year. She partnered with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law to work on advocacy for low-income clients on the policy and individual levels.
Two University of Chicago Law School students received Skadden Fellowships two years ago. Kristin Greer Love, ’09, advocates for the rights of Mexican guest workers with the Centro de los Derechos del Migrante and Kent Qian, ’09, works with the National Housing Law Project in Oakland, California, on housing foreclosures and assisting evicted tenants.