Boston University School of Law

February 18, 2011

torres

Franco Torres ('11) awarded Equal Justice Works Fellowship

Franco Torres (’11) has been awarded one of the prestigious Equal Justice Works (EJW) Fellowships. Through the public service program, Torres will begin his fellowship in September of this year and will work with the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC), a nonprofit legal assistance organization, for two years until 2013.

The EJW Fellowship Program seeks to create partnerships between public interest lawyers, nonprofit organizations, law firms and donors to provide underserved immigrants with effective access to the justice system, according to its Web site. Recognizing the various drawbacks that discourage many attorneys from practicing public interest law, the program provides financial support to recent law school graduates. The two-year fellowship includes a salary, benefits and generous loan repayment assistance.

After a competitive application process—including a series of interviews and a formal proposal—Torres was ecstatic to be accepted into the program.

“I was not only pleased to be one of the first of a handful of recipients nationwide, but also happy that I would be able to fulfill the purpose for which I went to law school,” he said. “I want to use my legal education to help people whose rights are being violated, but have neither the means nor ability to defend those rights themselves. An EJW fellowship will allow me to do that.”

Torres will be sponsored by attorneys from Greenberg Taurig, as well as the Florida Bar Association.

“I was thrilled to hear that Franco was selected as an Equal Justice Works Fellow,” said Carolyn Goodwin, BU Law’s associate director for government and public interest advising. “He is a committed and passionate advocate who will make a difference working on behalf of immigration detainees.”

Torres worked with Goodwin and her office to narrow and define his Fellowship proposal topic and develop his application. They also conducted several mock interviews throughout his application process.

Torres decided to apply for the program after discovering how compatible it was with his interests.

“When I discussed my desire to use my legal education to help [poor immigrants who do not receive the legal assistance they need] with my mentors at the Career Development Office, they suggested that I look into a variety of fellowships that would fund a position of my own design,” he said. “Given my legal interests, skills and experiences working with immigrant and Latino populations, I was eager to find a way to use my legal knowledge and skills to provide legal services to advocate for them after graduation. I was very impressed with Equal Justice Works' commitment to and track record of sponsoring such initiatives.”

Torres is the first BU Law student to receive an EJW fellowship since Ariel Patterson in 2007. BU Law is thankful for the honor that Torres has brought to the community through his unwavering passion for immigration issues, and wishes him good luck as he begins his work for FIAC.

Reported by Alia Wong

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