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PRESS RELEASE: AJFA Launches Legal Fellowship Program with First DLC Fellow Davies

Salt Lake City, Utah (June 18, 2014) “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL (AJFA), the umbrella organization that unites and supports the primary civil legal service agencies in Utah, is proud to announce the launching of its Legal Fellowship Program. Mary Anne Davies, a recent graduate of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, has joined the Disability Law Center as AJFA’s first Legal Fellow. The Legal Fellowship Program has been made possible in large part by a generous $10,000 grant from CIT Bank.

AJFA’s Legal Fellowship Program exists to simultaneously address two very pressing issues in Utah. First, it helps to address the ‘Justice Gap,’ in which a majority of low-income Utahns does not have access to an attorney when they most need one. Over 80 percent of very poor Utahns who need help resolving their civil legal problems do not get the legal help they need. AJFA Fellows will work to ensure justice for some of Utah’s most disadvantaged inhabitants.

Second, the Fellowship Program helps young lawyers gain invaluable experience as they enter the competitive legal job market. An American Bar Association study found that only 56 percent of 2012 law graduates had stable, full-time work in the law nine months after graduating. Even graduates who did everything right, finished at the top of their classes, graduated with honors, and held prestigious internships, find themselves in this position. AJFA’s new Fellow, Mary Anne, was one of many recent law school graduates struggling to find legal work and gain experience.

While the few positions available to recent law graduates are often unpaid or very underpaid, AJFA Fellows will receive a monthly stipend, as well as a $4,000 grant upon completion of the six-month program. The experience AJFA Fellows gain will help them as they move toward their future goals within the legal profession, while simultaneously helping Utahns in need.

Originally from Salt Lake City, Mary Anne received an MA in Public Administration from the University of Utah before going to law school in L.A. She has family in Utah, and loves all this state has to offer. She acknowledges that both here in Salt Lake and in Los Angeles, the legal market is oversaturated and the field difficult to get into. While in Los Angeles, she says every law clerk or legal position opening has hundreds of applicants, she found very few legal job openings in Salt Lake County. She was grateful to run into this fellowship posting that merges her public interest background with law. “If I hadn’t received this position, I’d be volunteering unpaid right now just like many of my graduating classmates,” Davies says.

DLC Executive Director, Adina Zahradnikova said, “Mary Anne is an outstanding advocate who is passionate about social justice issues and meeting the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens.  Mary Anne’s passion and skills are clearly aligned with the values and the mission of the Disability Law Center.”

For more information about “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” and the new AJFA Legal Fellowship program please contact Kseniya Kniazeva at 801.924.3182 or kseniya@andjusticeforall.org.

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