For the first time since 2010, a Skadden fellow is from an unranked law school

When Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom announced its 2014 fellows, there was one law student who stood out.

She is Sarah Hess—the first Skadden Fellow from an unranked law school since 2010, the National Law Journal reports. Hess attends the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. She will work with a health-care network that serves mostly low-income patients through the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Hess will offer free legal advice to families in areas such as housing, public benefits, Medicaid and domestic violence, the story says. “Put a child in the best classroom with the best teacher, but if they don’t know where they are going to sleep that night, they’re not going to learn effectively,” she told the NLJ.

Skadden named 28 graduating law students and judicial clerks as its 2014 Skadden Fellows, whose public interest work will be funded for two years, according to this press release.

Since the program was founded in 1988, nearly 70 percent of the fellows came from top 10 law schools, the NLJ says. Most of the others came from law schools in the top 100, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. In the new class of 28 fellows, seven are from Yale Law School and six from Harvard Law School.

Hess was a professional ballet dancer and instructor before she attended law school. She told the NLJ her selection shows that hard work can make up for a degree from a lower-ranked school. “I think the moral is a simple one,” she said. “You should never let people tell you something is impossible. You should use the warning as motivation to do a better job.”

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