Announcing the Shaffer Public Interest Fellowship and 2013 Shaffer Fellows

Shaffer Fellows
From left to right: Shaffer Fellow Sara Gruen, Director of the Notre Dame Economic Justice Clinic Professor Judy Fox, and Shaffer Fellow Michael Hagerty

In gratitude for his dedication to Notre Dame law students, Dean Nell Jessup Newton is proud to recognize Professor Thomas L. Shaffer through the renaming of the Notre Dame Law Fellowship. The Thomas L. Shaffer Public Interest Fellowship, as the fellowship will now be known, is highly competitive, requiring applicants to develop and propose a two-year public interest progra¬m to be implemented with a host agency and a willing supervising attorney. Funded entirely by the law school’s benefactors, the Fellowship pays the Fellows’ salaries and employer-provided health and other benefits for two years.

Professor Shaffer is one of the nation’s most prolific legal authors, writing nearly 300 scholarly works in his varied areas of expertise including estate planning, law and religion, legal ethics, and most recently, clinical teaching and legal counseling. Professor Shaffer joined the NDLS faculty in 1963 and in his tenure was the supervising attorney in the Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic (now called the Notre Dame Clinical Law Center), teaching clinical ethics and guiding the legal practice of the law students who serve the under-privileged of greater South Bend, Indiana.

The 2013 Shaffer Law Fellows are Sara Gruen (Candidate for J.D. ’13) and Michael Hagerty (Candidate for J.D. ’13).

Gruen will serve as a Public Defender representative to the Project Dawn Court, a pilot-phase diversion court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that aims to help women arrested for multiple prostitution offenses become disentangled from the criminal justice system, successfully exit prostitution, and live meaningful lives.

Working for the Public Counsel Law Center out of Los Angeles, California, Hagerty will help represent vulnerable and at-risk undocumented minors who wish to lead stable lives in the United States, safe from fear of deportation.

Exemplifying what it means to be a different kind of lawyer, the Shaffer Law Fellows program was created to help launch public service careers for NDLS graduates who have potential to make differences in the lives of low-income or under-represented communities. Each year, two graduating students are chosen as Fellows so that they may address an unmet legal need through their innovation and the assistance of a host agency.