The University of Chicago Law School has named Shehnaz Mansuri, an experienced civil rights lawyer who has been managing the University’s public interest fellowship program, as manager of the Pro Bono Service Initiative of the Public Service and Public Interest Law Program. This new position is made possible by the generous philanthropic support of Law School alumni Nancy Feldman, '46, and Ray Feldman, '45, long-time supporters of the Public Interest Program, who also underwrite the funding of 10 public interest fellowships each summer.
The appointment of Ms. Mansuri to run the Pro Bono Service Initiative reflects the success and growth of the program, started in late 2010, and the importance of having in place a dedicated senior manager. “I am absolutely thrilled that Shehnaz will be joining us, and grateful for the support of Nancy and Ray Feldman in underwriting this important new position,” said Michael H. Schill, Dean of the Law School and Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law. “I know that Shehnaz will help the Pro Bono Service Initiative expand even more, opening up new opportunities for both our law students and for nonprofit organizations in Chicago.”
The Pro Bono Service Initiative is a key ingredient in the Law School’s commitment to creating a culture of service. Students participating in the Initiative are exposed to a range of legal issues, and provided with hands-on experience assisting nonprofits, public interest organizations and government agencies. The Initiative enables Law School students to gain practical experience, and contribute directly to improving community life by delivering legal services to those underrepresented in the legal system. The Law School encourages students to complete at least 50 hours of volunteer legal work over the course of their Law School education – the Pro Bono Pledge.
An immediate priority of the Initiative manager will be to expand the Law School’s connections with public service law providers. “Chicago’s public interest law providers offer hundreds of pro bono opportunities ranging from A-Z, aging to zoning,” said Susan J. Curry, Director of Public Interest Law and Policy at the Law School. “With our first dedicated Pro Bono manager now in place, the Law School will be able to build relationships with many more organizations and match students with their areas of interest.”
Ms. Mansuri is a graduate of the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and practiced civil rights law in Chicago for 13 years at Gregory E. Kulis and Associates. She joined the University of Chicago Office of Career Advancement in early 2011. Since September 2011, Ms. Mansuri has been manager of the Office’s Public Interest Program, which places graduating students of the College in paid, one-year fellowships at Chicago area nonprofit, for-profit, and government agencies doing public interest work. In that role she counseled students and developed host relationships with area public interest law agencies. “All of these skills will be profoundly relevant as Shehnaz moves to the Law School to manage our Pro Bono Service Initiative,” said Ms. Curry.
“The opportunities are endless for Law School students,” said Ms. Mansuri. “I am thrilled to be able to help students interested in pursuing public interest law as a career or assist others to fulfill their interest in giving back before going into the private sector.”