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By Valerie J. Macmillan

Twenty-eight recent graduates of Harvard Law School (HLS) have been awarded Kaufman Fellowships for their dedication to public interest law.

"These people are very, very dedicated to public interest works," said Michael J. Chmura, a spokesperson for the law school. "These are people who are going to do this work in their future."

Stacy Bedebroff, who directs the office of public interest advising at the law school, said the fellowships are "designed to give [the recipients] a financial jump," as well as "recognize outstanding students and recent graduates."

"The majority of people who recieve fellowships are getting salaries in the mid-20s and it's a tremendous boost to their salaries," she said.

Chmura said that the Kaufman fellowships are one of the ways the law school supports public interest work, despite recent criticism of HLS for promoting high-paying corporate law more than public interest law.

"We have different financial assistance programs," Chmura said. "There is constant activity to support this kind of work."

Chmura said that while HLS's percentage of students entering public interest law is smaller than many other schools, the school is comparable in terms of numbers of students.

"It's a big school, and there are a lot of different career vehicles," Chmura said.

The recipients, nine of whom are renewals, include public defenders, fellows at law centers and people founding or directing their own programs.

This year's recipients are Stefanie Balandis, Susan Brooks, Samya Burner, Helen V. Cantwell, Catherine Caporusso, Cynthia Chandler, Deborah Colson, Pamela Coukos, Caroline Cuthbert, Uche Ewelukwa LL.M. and Terri Gerstein.

Other recipients are Tanya Greene, Julia Harrington, Juliette Kayyem, Michelle McKinley, Jennifer Middleton, Wendy K. Miller, Melissa Reinberg, Kim Slote and Robert Weissman.

Shris Mburu LL.M., Mithra Merryman, Alix Pustilnik, Rebecca Sharbless, Andrew Stanton, Tracy Stone, Melody Webb and Stephen Weisbrod also won Kaufman Fellowships.

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