David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy

Three Students Named Skadden Fellows


Three third-year students in UCLA School of Law’s David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy have received prestigious Skadden Fellowships for 2017.

Ariana Cernius ’17, Veryl Pow ’17, and Vivian Wong ’17 will work in public interest law positions in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., as part of the Skadden Fellowship Program, which supports graduating law students who provide legal services to poor, elderly, disabled or otherwise disadvantaged people. Fellows receive a full salary and benefits for two years.

This marks the second time that three UCLA School of Law students received Skadden Fellowships in one year, making UCLA Law students among the most honored by the program.

Cernius will work at Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles. She will serve clients with developmental disabilities, a population for whom she has advocated since before college, where she co-founded and served as president of Harvard Undergraduates Raising Autism Awareness. Before she enrolled in law school, Cernius was a Pforzheimer Fellow at Harvard, working to address social isolation among teens and young adults with special needs. At UCLA Law, she has served as co-chair of the Disability Law Society and chief organizer of the 2016 Disability Law Symposium.

Pow will work at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights in Washington, D.C. He will represent indigent individuals who are being sued by bail bond companies in Baltimore in debt collection suits, and will collaborate with advocates in an effort to end the use of money bail in the criminal justice system in Maryland. Before law school, Pow taught at-risk youth at an alternative high school in Seattle. At UCLA Law, he served as a co-chair of the Reentry Legal Clinic, Criminal Justice Society, and student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and he volunteered at the Venice Beach Homeless Clinic.

Wong will work at Learning Rights Law Center in Los Angeles. She will provide special education legal services to youth who face school discipline due to unaddressed mental health needs. Before law school, she worked in disability activism and college access for first-generation, low-income youth.  At UCLA Law she has worked with the El Centro Public Counsel CARES and Education Rights clinics, the National Lawyers Guild’s Homeless Clinic, and the Youth & Justice Clinic, as well as related community-based advocacy organizations in Northern California.

“The Skadden Fellowship Program will give these students the tremendous opportunity to pursue innovative projects that will improve the lives of their clients and help inform a broader social justice policy agenda,” says Professor Ingrid Eagly, faculty director of the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. “We are so pleased that the program again recognized the dedication and talent of several UCLA Law students.”

The Skadden Fellowship Program was founded by the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in 1988. Since then, it has supported nearly 800 law school graduates and judicial clerks who seek to devote their careers to public interest work.

UCLA School of Law's David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy is one of the nation's most innovative and successful law school programs dedicated to training students to engage in sophisticated representation of traditionally underserved individuals, communities and interests.