A Record Four Minnesota Law Students Named Peggy Browning Fellows
Rising 3Ls Dustin Loosbrock and Ricardo Perez and rising 2Ls Amirah Ellison and Abby Frerick were selected for prestigious and highly competitive summer fellowships from the Peggy Browning Fund.
The Peggy Browning Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and advancement of worker advocates. Fellows receive stipends for working at various organizations dedicated to the advancement of working people.
The selection of four Minnesota Law students as Peggy Browning Fellows is unprecedented, says Professor of Law Emeritus Stephen Befort '74. “The fellows program is extremely selective, and no more than one student has ever been selected in the past for a summer placement.”
Loosbrock, who will spend the summer at the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail & Transportation Workers in Washington, D.C., is a third-generation operating engineer.
“After serving in the U.S. Navy, I joined the Operating Engineers as an apprentice,” Loosbrock says. “Part of my tenure as a member of my Local included serving as a union representative. During that time, I realized that I wanted to serve the labor movement, particularly the building trades, on a larger scale. I believed that a legal education was the best way to build on my experience and reach my goals.”
Perez is spending his summer as a clerk with union-side law firm, Murphy Anderson, PLLC in Washington, D.C. In addition to working with the firm's labor practice, he hopes to work closely with attorneys in the employment and whistleblower practices.
“I am excited to dive into the world of worker representation!” Perez says. “The firm works closely with a local worker's rights clinic, which will a present an opportunity to interact directly with clients and the attorneys who advise them. On the union-side, I hope to learn how to best advocate for and draft agreements that better balance the interests of workers against those of these massive corporations. In my experience so far, interacting and sharing ideas with like-minded law students from across the country has been invaluable.”
Ellison is spending her summer at the Washington, D.C.-based Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), a coalition of four unions—the Communication Workers of America (CWA), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Farmworkers of America (UFW), and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT).
“I am working on research that is providing insights into how the workers we represent can leverage their collective power against unfair business and employment practices,” Ellison says. “I have a background in union organizing and came to law school with the intent to become a worker-side Labor & Employment lawyer, so I am humbled to be able to contribute to the labor movement from this new role.”
Frerick is spending her summer working at Arnold, Newbold, Sollars & Hollins, P.C. in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is engaging with cases involving both labor and employment law. The firm works a lot with ERISA, so she has also been learning about Taft-Hartley employee benefit plans and engaging with clients.
“The partners and associates at the firm have already provided me with incredible mentorship and guidance that I will take with me into my blooming legal career,” Frerick says. “It is also immensely valuable to see the law in practice rather than just experiencing the more theoretical approach of a law school classroom. Having both opportunities allow me to synthesize a better understanding of the law.”