About the Fellowship
MLAC created the Bart J. Gordon Memorial Fellowship to improve access to justice for people who face linguistic or cultural barriers to attaining legal assistance.
The Bart Gordon Fellowship funds two one-year positions (with an option to renew for a second year) for recent law school graduates at legal aid organizations funded by MLAC. Civil legal aid organizations identify potential fellowship projects and submit proposals to MLAC. MLAC awards a fellowship to two legal aid organizations, which then each recruit and hire a fellow—usually the fall before the start of the fellowship year. If you are interested in becoming a Bart Gordon Fellow, you should contact an eligible legal aid organization in the year before your potential fellowship to discuss ideas for a project. For additional information on the Bart Gordon Fellowship, contact Patricia Swansey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bart J. Gordon was a Springfield attorney and a founding member of the MLAC Board of Directors. This fellowship program was renamed in his honor after his passing in 1995.
Below are examples of past projects
One fellow worked with South Coastal Counties Legal Services’ education unit to address practices and policies in local school districts that adversely affect children with disabilities, students of color, and other individuals. They analyzed data to identify specific policy problems, strengthened SCCLS’ connections with parents and community groups to ensure the voices of those impacted were heard, and represented students at risk of being excluded from school.
Another fellow represented persons with mental illness living in institutions and also investigated systemic legal issues within local communities of color in Boston while working at the Center for Public Representation. This fellow primarily represented African American men—the majority of whom were homeless—within the Metro Boston Inpatient Units and the Lemeul Shattuck Hospital to ensure that their rights were protected. After their fellowship, the fellow was hired as a permanent staff attorney at the Disability Law Center.
Another fellow worked on MetroWest Legal Services’ Wage and Hour Project, where they often represented undocumented residents who were victims of wage theft. By ensuring that workers received the wages owed them, they helped families and individuals maintain financial stability.