Avni Bhatia '10 has been selected a 2010 Skadden Fellow. The prestigious two-year fellowship, established in 1988 by the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, supports graduating law students who wish to pursue public interest work by providing a salary, fringe benefits, and tuition-debt assistance to awardees as they pursue personally conceived projects at their chosen public interest organizations. Beginning next fall, Bhatia will spend two years at Advocates for Children of New York (AFC), a non-profit which aims to promote access to education for children.

Bhatia’s project with AFC was inspired by her work as a three-year member of the Suspension Representation Project, a group of law students who represent public school students at suspension hearings. The project will provide direct representation, policy advocacy, litigation support, and community outreach to ensure that low-income students with behavioral challenges get the supports to which they are entitled so they can stay and succeed in school.

“Whether their behavior stems from a troubling family situation or a disability, children with behavioral challenges need someone to help get them back on track,” Bhatia says. “I hope to be a lawyer advocating for appropriate supports for these children to help redirect their paths toward academic and life success.”

Posted January 25, 2010