Three St. John’s Law Students Earn New York City Bar Diversity Fellowships

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Three 1Ls have earned coveted New York City Bar Diversity Fellowships for summer 2014. Janelle Aaron will spend the summer at Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C., Stephanie Cipolla will work for Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy & Bach, LLP, and Lawson Huynh has been placed at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

The Diversity Fellowship Program was launched in 1991 as an initiative of the New York City Bar Association Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Lawyers. Since its inception, hundreds of first-year law students from underrepresented populations have been selected to spend their summer as Program Fellows in a law firm, or corporate or government legal department. To earn coveted spots in the program, the St. John’s Law candidates went through a rigorous selection process that included a legal writing requirement, a personal statement, a screening committee interview, and a second interview by a panel of attorneys and school representatives. Professor Jacob L. Todres and Career Development Office administrators assisted in advising students about this opportunity.

“St. John’s students have been very successful in obtaining these competitive fellowships over the years,” said Jeanne Ardan, the Law School’s Assistant Dean for Career Development. “The practical experience they gain during the placements gives them a strong foundation for future employment. It’s a very exciting opportunity for Janelle, Stephanie, and Lawson, who are deserving of this honor.”

Janelle Aaron earned her Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, with honors distinction in Political Science. For the last 10 years, she has worked as a paralegal in corporate and large firm settings, including Paul Weiss Rifkand Wharton & Garrison LLP. While engaged in her full-time studies at St. John’s Law, Janelle works part-time as a Senior Paralegal and Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist for The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. Her nontraditional path to law school inspired her to serve as a founding member and an executive board member of the New York City Paralegal Association.

Stephanie Cipolla graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, cum laude, majoring in Political Science. Prior to law school, she interned at the King’s County District Attorney’s Office, with the New York City Law Department, and for the Honorable Reinaldo E. Rivera 76, '06HON in New York’s Appellate Division, Second Department. Stephanie has used her Spanish-language skills to assist public interest organizations, such as the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans. At St. John’s Law, she is a member of the Latin American Law Students Association.

Lawson Huynh completed his Bachelor of Science in Government and Politics at St. John’s University, where he hosted educational awareness panels as an Action Council Member for the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families. At St. John’s Law, he serves as Director of the Jurist Committee of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and President of the St. John’s Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Lawson has accumulated legal experience in both litigation and commercial matters, including serving as an intern for the Honorable Denny Chin in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He hopes to one day argue in front of the United States Supreme Court. 

“Through this innovative program, the City Bar is helping to build a more diverse and inclusive legal profession, which benefits practitioners, legal consumers, and society alike,” said Dean Michael A. Simons. I know that Janelle, Lawson, and Stephanie will bring a tremendous work ethic to their summer positions, while gaining essential lawyering skills, hands-on experience, and valuable mentoring.”

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