Getting a job after passing the bar can be tough. But 10 third-year law students in nine states are one step closer to winning a new position – the top prize in a unique contest – and fulfilling their dreams of becoming attorneys who advocate for children.

BARBRI, the company that has helped more than 1 million lawyers pass the bar, has selected semi-finalists in its first-ever Public Interest Fellow competition. The winner will work at the global nonprofit Save the Children as a fellow in a year-long position created and funded by BARBRI.

“The job market for new lawyers is challenging,” said Mike Sims, an attorney and president of BARBRI. “We wanted to do something no one else has ever done to both encourage public service and benefit a nonprofit like Save the Children that does such important work at home and abroad.”

BARBRI designed the Public Interest Fellow program to promote social responsibility and increase awareness of alternative legal career paths. Contestants submitted short videos expressing why they want to work for the nonprofit dedicated to affecting immediate and lasting change for children in need across the country and around the world.

Most of the videos depict personal stories and experiences that inspired the students to go to law school and work with kids; the semi-finalists included imaginative elements that make their productions standouts. The common thread among all entrants is their desire to improve the lives of children, one of the society’s most vulnerable groups.

A panel of BARBRI judges narrowed the field from dozens of entries to 10 students based on the strength of their messages, GPAs and videos. Legal professionals will judge the 10 semi-finalists on the following criteria: creativity, passion, video quality and content, resume and writing sample.

The public is invited to view the videos and vote once for their favorite through April 7 at BARBRI will combine the industry expert evaluations and the public vote results to determine three finalists from whom Save the Children will vet and select this fellow. BARBRI will notify the top three contestants by April 8 and will announce the winner in early May.

“We’re pleased with the high caliber of candidates for our BARBRI fellow position and gratified by the interest that such exceptional individuals have demonstrated in Save the Children,” said Gretchen Wagner, general counsel for Save the Children. “All of the videos were compelling and heartfelt, and I have no doubt that children will benefit from the work of the fellow that joins us. We are deeply grateful to BARBRI for making this happen.”

The BARBRI Public Interest Fellow Semi-Finalists (in alphabetical order):

  • Andrea Baker, Athens, Ga., University of Georgia School of Law
  • Karen Baker, Austin, Texas, University of Texas School of Law
  • Vianca Diaz, Wethersfield, Conn., University of Maryland School of Law
  • Arianna Goodman, Little Rock, Ark., William H. Bowen School of Law
  • Allison Levene, Stamford, Conn., Wake Forest University School of Law
  • Candace Queathem, Irvine, Calif., Chapman University School of Law
  • Shaundricka Ranel, Durham, N.C., North Carolina Central University School of Law
  • Abigail Skeans, Virginia Beach, Va., Regent University School of Law
  • Zipporah Tillman, Pittsburgh, Pa., University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • Catherine Wauters, Arlington, Va., George Mason University School of Law

BARBRI Public Interest Fellow Expert Judges

Akua Akyea is director of public interest at Yale Law School. Previously, she directed public interest summer programs for nine years at Columbia Law School’s Social Justice Initiatives -Center for Public Interest Law. She has counseled students on public interest opportunities and promoted ways to incorporate pro-bono in a corporate practice. Akyea, a graduate of the University of Iowa Law School and member of the National Association of Law Placement, is a speaker on international public interest careers. She also has worked as assistant director of cross-cultural programming and outreach at the University of Iowa and as a counselor for at-risk high school students. Akyea has traveled and lived in several European countries, East and West Africa, and North America.

David Lat is the founder and managing editor of Above the Law (ATL). His writing also has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Observer, Washingtonian magazine and New York magazine. Prior to ATL, he launched Underneath Their Robes, a blog about federal judges. Before entering the journalism world, he worked as a federal prosecutor in Newark, New Jersey; as a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York; and as a law clerk to Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Lat graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He has received several awards for his work on ATL, including recognition as one of the American Lawyer’s Top 50 Big Law Innovators of the Last 50 Years; one of the ABA Journal’s Legal Rebels, a group of pioneers within the legal profession; and one of the Fastcase 50, “the fifty most interesting, provocative and courageous leaders in the world of law, scholarship and legal technology.”

Tanya Roth is the editor and team lead for blogs and content at, the No. 1 legal information website. Blogs written by her and her team have garnered two American Bar Association Blawg 100 nominations and have been cited by SCOTUSBlog,,, The Wall Street Journal Law Blog, and one slightly dubious amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court. Roth is a graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and has worked in Silicon Valley almost her entire career. As an interested observer of the nation’s hotbed of tech, innovation and geekiness, she is at work on a book about all of the above.


BARBRI, Inc., has helped more lawyers prepare for the bar than any other company and is now positioned to meet the legal education needs of both law students and attorneys throughout their academic and professional careers. BARBRI’s leading legal and education experts cultivate engaged, successful students -leading to lower attrition rates at law schools and higher bar passage and job placement rates -and better-trained, more professionally effective practicing attorneys. Founded in 1967, BARBRI is headquartered in Dallas with offices throughout the United States. To learn more, visit


Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in 120 countries, including the United States. The organization aims to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives by improving their health, education and economic opportunities. In times of acute crisis, Save the Children mobilizes rapid assistance to help children recover from the effects of war, conflict and natural disasters. For more information, visit Follow the nonprofit on Twitter and Facebook.

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