LAPA names 2011 Arthur Liman Fellows

Four Princeton undergraduates, two graduate students selected

Press Release Display Announcement

The Princeton University Program in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA) is pleased to announce the selection of its 2011 Arthur Liman Fellows in Public Interest Law.  The Liman Program enables Princeton students to spend eight to ten weeks during the upcoming summer in an internship serving the needs of people and causes that might otherwise go unrepresented.

The four undergraduates and two graduate students, selected through a competitive application process, will begin their program by participating in the Annual Liman Public Interest Law Colloquium at Yale Law School on March 3-4.  There they will meet public interest advocates, legal scholars, government officials and the Liman Fellows from the five other participating schools.

"The Liman Fellows were selected from an especially competitive applicant pool,  stated Leslie Gerwin, Associate Director of the Program in Law and Public Affair and coordinator of Princeton's Liman Fellows program.  "Each has already demonstrated a significant commitment to public service.  LAPA is proud to allow them to have a law-based service opportunity."

The 2011 Liman Fellows, representing the sixth annual class at Princeton are: (their biographies are appended):

Undergraduate students:

  • Krisia Ildefonso '12, Spanish Language & Cultures
  • Laura Pedersen '12, History (Latin American)
  • Zayn Siddique '11, Woodrow Wilson School
  • Eric Stern '11, Woodrow Wilson School

Graduate students:

  • Vinay Sitapati, 1st Year Ph.D. Student in Politics
  • Justin Simeone, 2nd Year Ph.D. student in Politics

The Liman Fellows Program was created by the Liman Family Foundation in honor of Arthur Liman's long and distinguished career in public interest law.  It was established at Princeton through the generosity of Emily Liman '85.  Based at Yale Law School, Arthur Liman's alma mater, the program includes undergraduate fellows from Barnard, Brown, Harvard, Spelman, and Yale.  Princeton is the only university to offer summer Liman Fellowships to graduate students.  For more information on the Princeton Liman Fellowship and previous years' recipients, see

Pictured from left: Vinay Sitapati, Eric Stern, Justin Simeone, Laura Pedersen, Zayn Siddique (not pictured: Krisia Ildefonso)


Undergraduate Students

Krisia Ildefonso is a junior from New Jersey, studying Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures and pursuing a certificate in Latin American Studies.  During her freshman year, she developed an interest in immigration law and worker's rights.  On campus, she tutors English as a Second Language and serves as a mentor for Latino underclassmen through LUNA. She is also a member of the TapCats Dance Company.  Over the past two summers, she has interned with CATA: The Farmworker's Support Committee in Glassboro, New Jersey and the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights.  Krisia is planning to spend her Fellowship summer with the Legal Services of New Jersey Workers Legal Rights and Farmworker Projects.

Laura Pedersen is a junior studying Early Modern European Intellectual History.  She grew up and attended high school in San Jose, California.  At Princeton, she is currently an officer for the Orange Key Tour Guide Service, chairs student events programming at Campus Club, and is the Executive Director of her comedy improv group, Fuzzy Dice.  Laura has also continued her active involvement in public service law begun in high school. Laura then had internships at the County Counsel's Child Dependency Unit, San Jose's Family Law Facilitator's Office, where her Spanish language skills allowed her to act as a translator for the many monolingual immigrants who came through the office, and the Department of Justice's Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Program. She plans to spend her Fellowship summer working in the Justice Department's Office of Immigration Litigation.

Zayn Siddique is a senior in the Woodrow Wilson School from New York City.  His work at Princeton has largely focused on international legal development and Near Eastern politics.  Accordingly, his thesis is on the conditions which promote and hinder the development of judicial independence in authoritarian regimes.  On campus, Zayn is involved with the Princeton Debate Panel, the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, and the Princeton-Trenton Debate Partnership.  He is also a member of the Daily Princetonian editorial board.  Over his summers, Zayn has interned with such organizations as the New York Legal Assistance Group and the American Bar Association, where he has worked on issues ranging from domestic civil law to rule of law promotion abroad.

Eric Stern is a senior in the Woodrow Wilson School pursuing certificates in Urban Studies and Environmental Studies.  As president of Princeton College Democrats, campaign manager for a Princeton Borough Council candidate, organizer on a New Jersey gubernatorial campaign and intern on New York Attorney General and New York City Council campaigns, he has worked to promote progressive causes throughout the region.  A New York City native, he has developed a passion for urban policy through internships at the Institute for Education and Social Policy, the New York League of Conservation Voters and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  He is interested in developing more equitable and sustainable cities through housing policy and land use law.

Graduate Students

Justin Simeone is a second-year Ph.D. student in Politics and Social Policy.  He is particularly interested in the conditions under which domestic activists and judiciaries utilize international laws and norms to extend and enforce human rights standards.  In 2009, Justin was Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics, where he studied legal integration and immigration policy in the European Union.  As an undergraduate at the University of Mary Washington, Justin held internships at the Washington, DC Public Defender Service and the Bath, England Magistrates' Court.  Additionally, from 2007 to 2010, he served as Board of Directors Chairperson for the non-profit organization, Students Helping Honduras, which has distributed more than $1.2 million to empower children and families through access to homes, education, and microfinance opportunities.

Vinay Sitapati is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Politics.  He grew up in Mumbai, Chittoor and Bangalore, and graduated from National Law School Bangalore and Harvard Law School.  His current interests are at the intersection of law and politics, focusing on the relationship of democracy to the rule of law in South Asia.  He acknowledges that this interest was shaped by his previous internships and experience in public interest law as well as his prior academic studies.  Among his internships were positions with the Pakistani court, a Pakistani human rights lawyer, the UN Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, and the Delhi-based advocacy organization Public Interest Legal Support and Research Centre.  As a visiting scholar at Indiana University Law School, he compared caste-based quotas in India with race-based affirmative action in the United States.

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