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$1 Million Gift Launches Center for Legal Advocacy, Among the First of Its Kind In The United States

The Bickel & Brewer Latino Institute for Human Rights and the New York University School of Law announce the selection of the first two scholarship recipients: Thomas Fritzsche and Melissa Navarro. The Institute seeks to advance debate on issues of importance to the Latino community, promoting legislation that will positively affect the short-term problems and long-term challenges facing Latino communities.

Professor Cristina Rodriguez, a leader in the field of language rights, will serve as the faculty advisor for the Institute. Scholars in the program are chosen on the basis of academic excellence, commitment to community service, and an interest in pursuing a career that promotes justice for the Latino community. Upon graduation, or at the completion of a judicial clerkship immediately following their schooling, scholarship recipients will be expected to work for at least two years at an organization serving the Latino community.

“With Latinos the fastest growing population segment in the United States, our country is currently undergoing a progressive shift,” said William A. Brewer III. “We are excited about establishing a program to recruit and train those with the talent and intention to use their legal skills as a catalyst to positively influence an array of political, social, cultural, and economic institutions.”

Melissa Navarro, a Los Angeles native, graduated in 2005 from the University of California at Los Angeles, where she majored in Political Science and received a César Chávez Scholarship in recognition of her service in disadvantaged communities. While a full-time student Navarro worked as a teacher’s aide as well as a program facilitator at an early childhood education center, and at an after-school program for the socio-economically disadvantaged. Navarro then worked as an English-language teaching assistant at a middle school in Lennox, CA after graduation.

Thomas Fritzsche, originally from Kennebunk, Maine, graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 2003 from Amherst College with an interdisciplinary major in Latin-American studies. Since graduating, Fritzsche has worked as a labor organizer for long-term health care workers in Los Angeles and most recently performed migrant agricultural work as part of an independent research project. He has also spent three summers as a health outreach worker and medical interpreter for farm workers.

“The goal is to prepare the next generation of public advocates, one lawyer (or, in this case, two lawyers) at a time,” said Richard Revesz, Dean of the NYU School of Law. “This program is among the most selective we’ve ever had here at the law school. With its focus on Latino rights and its commitment to provide students with hands-on academic and litigation training, we believe this initiative is unlike anything else taking place in legal education today.”

About Bickel & Brewer
Founded in 1984, Bickel & Brewer has earned a reputation as one of the most aggressive and successful law firms in the United States practicing exclusively in the field of complex commercial litigation and dispute resolution. With offices in New York and Dallas, Bickel & Brewer represents a wide spectrum of industry leaders - from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 corporations - facing the most challenging of legal issues. Visit Bickel & Brewer at

About New York University School of Law
The NYU School of Law is renowned for, among other things, its longstanding commitment to public service, its international focus, the excellence of its faculty’s scholarship and teaching, and its innovative law centers and clinics.

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