News & Announcements

For Fourth Year, Weil Teams with Leading Nonprofits to Offer Fellowships to Rising Law Students

NEW YORK, JULY 28, 2023: International law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is pleased to announce the 2023-2024 class of its multi-stakeholder public service initiative, the Weil Legal Innovators Program (WLI), now in its fourth year.

The ten students selected for this year’s class deferred entering their first year of study at one of the WLI partner law schools to complete one year of public service at a WLI nonprofit partner organization. During the 12 months of service, these rising law school students have a rare opportunity to work on urgent social and legal challenges at leading nonprofits, including the National Women’s Law Center, Earthwatch Institute, United Way of New York City and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. The Innovators will focus on a variety of issues, including gender equality, human rights, racial justice, ESG and more.   

Fellowships will commence this summer and continue through July 2024. The Innovators’ WLI positions and law school acceptances are as follows:

  • Gabrielle Battle will join Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights in Washington, D.C. as an International Advocacy & Litigation Fellow. She will attend Harvard Law School.
  • Tori Bianco will join Clooney Foundation for Justice as the Waging Justice for Women Fellow. She will attend University of Texas at Austin School of Law.
  • Jamal Burns will join National Urban League in New York City as the Equitable Justice Legal Fellow. He will attend Yale Law School.
  • Kavya Chaturvedi will join Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights in New York City as a Compass Investors Fellow. She will attend Stanford Law School.
  • Salma Elsayed will join United Way of New York City in New York City as an Advocacy Associate. She will attend Yale Law School.
  • Brendan Hyatt will join Earthwatch Institute in Boston as a Research & Communications Analyst. He will attend University of Michigan Law School.
  • Jennifer Lee will join National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C. as the TIME’s UP Legal Defense Fund Program Associate. She will attend Harvard Law School.
  • Sam Maldonado will join American Civil Liberties Union of Texas in Houston as a Case Management & Litigation Assistant. They will attend Yale Law School.
  • Ava Pacchiana will join Innocence Project in New York City as an Exoneration Innovator. She will attend Harvard Law School.
  • Sam Shapiro will join National Urban League in New York City as an Office of General Counsel Legal Fellow. He will attend New York University School of Law.

All Innovators receive a $55,000 salary and full benefits package for their one-year engagement with the aforementioned nonprofit organizations. Upon starting law school, they will receive a $10,000 scholarship towards their first year academic expenses. Nonprofit partners receive a stipend to help cover operating expenses associated with onboarding the Innovators.

Innovators also receive robust professional development programming throughout the year from leaders in the nonprofit and business sector, as well as mentorship from Weil attorneys and professional staff.

“The 2023 class of Weil Legal Innovators is an exceptional group of students,” said Weil Executive Partner Barry Wolf. “We’re proud to offer them an opportunity to help address some of the most pressing social and legal challenges in our communities today. We are delighted to join with our partner nonprofit organizations to make these meaningful opportunities available to future lawyers for the fourth consecutive year.”

Weil’s New York City office commenced the program on July 17 with the 2023 WLI Conference. Members of all four cohorts attended the event, which included a presentation by outgoing 2022-2023 Innovators about their year of service. The panel was moderated by Jennifer Leonard, Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law’s Future of the Profession Initiative. Rohan Pavuluri, Board Chair and Co-Founder of Upsolve, an organization helping low-income families overcome financial distress, delivered the keynote presentation on innovation and public service. Innovators also volunteered with PENCIL, a leading nonprofit organization serving New York City public school students, to help participants in the Legal and Business track build their resumes and discuss college and career readiness.

The WLI program is made possible by an annual commitment of more than $1 million from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

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About Weil’s Citizenship Commitment

Weil is committed to engaging as a responsible corporate citizen in the communities where we live and work. The Firm’s corporate citizenship footprint is brought to bear through Weil’s longstanding community engagement; diversity, equity and inclusion; pro bono legal service; and charitable contributions programs, including the Weil Foundation.

About Weil

Founded in 1931, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has been a preeminent provider of legal services for more than 90 years. With approximately 1,100 lawyers in offices on three continents, Weil has been a pioneer in establishing a geographic footprint that has allowed the Firm to partner with clients wherever they do business. The Firm’s four departments, Corporate, Litigation, Restructuring, and Tax, Executive Compensation & Benefits, and more than two dozen practice groups are consistently recognized as leaders in their respective fields.

Weil Legal Innovators Program