Four students named inaugural fellows for Federal Magistrate Judges Association


A new fellowship is helping four law students this year. The Federal Magistrate Judges Association named four students from around the country as FMJA fellows. They will each receive a $2,500 stipend and will spend the summer as interns with a federal magistrate judge.

The FMJA created the fellowships this year by partnering with Just the Beginning (JTB), an organization that encourages interest in law careers among people of varying socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds that are typically underrepresented in the legal profession.

The four fellows:

• Marianna Nava from Roger Williams University School of Law will intern with Magistrate Judge Judith Dein in the District of Massachusetts.
• Monroe Thornton from Cumberland School of Law will intern with Magistrate Judge John England in the Northern District of Alabama.
• Devin Weber from Seton Hall University School of Law will intern Magistrate Judge James Cott in the Southern District of New York.
• Ellen Wiah from the University of Iowa College of Law will intern Magistrate Judge David Strawbridge in the District of Pennsylvania.

One of the students, Marianna Nava from Roger Williams University School of Law, was born in Brazil and immigrated to the U.S. when she was 13, so she has a keener view of the fellowship’s mission statement than most.

“As an immigrant, I overcame many of the socioeconomic challenges that diverse populations often face when moving to a different country,” Nava said. “That experience has allowed me to appreciate the importance of diversity in the legal profession. Upon graduating from RWU Law, I hope to one day give back to my community as a family law and immigration attorney.”

JTB helped place 22 students with U.S. Magistrate Judges this year, and of those, these four students were chosen to be fellows. The organization also worked with the Judicial Resources Committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference to found the Summer Judicial Internship Diversity Project, which encourages diversity in judicial careers.

“Each Fellow will also have the opportunity to participate in FMJA programs advising students about the application process for federal clerkships and the various career pathways to the bench,” said Deborah Smith, FMJA president. “Both the FMJA and the JTB are working to help establish a legal profession in which lawyers and judges reflect the people they serve.”

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