Three Students Win Skadden Fellowships to Practice Public Interest Law

20181121 Skadden Fellows

L to R: Christina Avalos ’19, Sunney Poyner ’19 and Ysabel Jurado ’19


Three graduating UCLA School of Law students have been awarded Skadden Fellowships, among the most competitive awards for law students pursuing careers in public interest law.

In their two-year fellowships, Christina Avalos ’19 and Ysabel Jurado ’19, students in UCLA Law’s nationally renowned David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, and Sunney Poyner ’19 will advocate for immigrant families, survivors of sexual assault, and residents of the Filipinotown neighborhood of Los Angeles.

This is the third year in which three UCLA Law students have won Skadden Fellowships, making the law school among the most recognized in the country.

Avalos will work at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). There, she will assist families affected by immigration enforcement, including families in eviction proceedings and children who have been separated from their parents and are seeking to secure legal guardians. Avalos has worked in immigrants’ rights with the ACLU of Southern California and the United Nations. At UCLA Law, she is a member of the Chicana/o-Latina/o Law Review, Law Students for Immigrant Justice, the Immigrant Family Legal Clinic, and a delegation of students who have offered vital assistance to immigrants seeking asylum while detained in Texas.

Jurado will work at Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles, where she will combat the displacement of tenants, community organizations and small businesses in L.A.’s Historic Filipinotown neighborhood, a hotbed of real estate redevelopment. Jurado has served in the office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and as a Peggy Browning Fellow at the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). At UCLA Law, she is the co-editor-in-chief of the Women’s Law Journal, a founding member of the First Gen Law Students Association and the Labor and Employment Law Association, and a leader of the Womyn of Color Collective.

Poyner will work at the Victim Rights Law Center in Boston, where she will develop a program to help secure government benefits for people with disabilities who are survivors of sexual assault. Poyner holds a masters of education in mental health counseling from the University of Puget Sound and has substantial experience providing trauma therapy to survivors of sexual assault. At UCLA Law, she is the founding editor-in-chief of the new Disability Law Journal, the only such publication in the country. She also interned at Disability Rights California and participated in UCLA Law’s Veterans Legal Clinic. 

“Through the Skadden Fellowship program, these outstanding women will begin their legal careers providing innovative legal assistance to some of the nation’s most underserved communities,” says Professor Ingrid Eagly, faculty director of the Epstein Program. “We thank the Skadden Fellowship Foundation for supporting and recognizing our talented students and the deep base of knowledge and experience that they develop at UCLA Law.”

Founded in 1988 by the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the Skadden Fellowship program has supported approximately 800 law students in its history. To date, nearly 30 UCLA Law students have won Skadden Fellowships. Skadden Fellows receive a full salary and benefits for two years as they join nonprofit organizations representing those with limited access to legal resources.