PILI Alumni Spotlight: Shenna Johnson, 2019 Graduate Fellow

PILI is excited to welcome Shenna Johnson of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP to our Board of Directors as the 2019 Graduate Fellow Alumni Representative. Each year, PILI appoints one Intern and one Fellow from the most recent class to serve on the board for a two-year term.

Last summer, Shenna did her PILI Fellowship at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights where she worked on the Housing Opportunity Project, which focuses on systemic litigation and advocacy to combat housing discrimination and barriers to opportunity. Additionally, she assisted with the Committee’s Voting Rights Project, where she had an opportunity to research and write memoranda concerning voting rights and voter suppression issues to aid in the Committee’s mission to enforce and defend strong election laws.

“Having the opportunity to work alongside individuals who work tirelessly every day to serve as a voice for the voiceless and are passionate advocates who dedicate their lives to promoting justice and equality was truly an unforgettable and awe-inspiring experience,” said Shenna.

Shenna received her J.D. from Howard University School of Law in 2019, her M.PA. degree in 2013 and her B.S. degree in 2009 from Old Dominion University.  As a law student, Shenna served as a student attorney in Howard’s Human and Civil Rights Clinic and a senior editor on the Howard Human and Civil Rights Law Review.

Since finishing her Fellowship, Shenna began working at Skadden as a first-year associate in its corporate group. She took and passed the bar exam and became the first attorney in her family. She has consistently engaged in various pro bono matters and is currently helping a woman from Mexico who is seeking asylum.

Shenna credits her PILI Fellowship at the Lawyers’ Committee for giving her a head start in her legal career. Specifically, she learned how to plan, prepare, file and defend lawsuits intended to effect societal change. “Although I may have otherwise obtained this type of experience gradually throughout my career, by working on various pro bono matters, the Lawyers’ Committee gave me a head start and provided an opportunity for me to hone these skills on a daily basis throughout my Fellowship,” said Shenna. “I know that as a result I have developed a well-rounded skill set.”

Shenna intends to keep pro bono work a priority throughout her career. “My PILI Fellowship further solidified my desire to stay committed to service and use the skills and tools I have acquired to continue supporting underserved and marginalized communities,” she said. “I will ensure that pro bono is not an afterthought, but rather, a consistent component of my practice.”

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