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Penn Law School // Daily Pennsylvanian File Photo

The Toll Public Interest Center at Penn Law recently created and filled a new position called the Director of Social Justice Programs. Emily R. Sutcliffe, a graduate student who is earning her Ph.D. in Anthropology at Penn, was hired for the position.

According to the official job posting, the new director will design and implement the Toll Public Interest Scholars Program, collaborate with faculty advisors to inform social justice programs, and develop networks with social justice partners in order to increases students’ opportunities, among other duties. 

The TPIC, described on its website as a “hub of public service,” oversees Penn Law’s pro bono programs, which serve a number of nonprofits and underrepresented communities. It is also home to the Toll Public Interest Scholars program for students interested in pursuing careers in public interest law.

Associate Dean and Executive Director of TPIC Arlene Rivera Finkelstein said in an emailed statement to the Daily Pennsylvanian that Sutcliffe will also design and oversee the Toll Public Service Corps, a new program for students committed to working in public service following law school graduation.

“The Director will design and deliver a service-learning curriculum and service-oriented leadership training for the Penn Law community, including pro bono project leaders, student group leaders, and spring break service trip participants,” Finkelstein said.

Just three months ago, two alumni donated $3 million to Penn Law to expand the Center’s Public Service program.  

Sutcliffe received a Masters in Social Policy & Practice in 2011 and a Masters in Education in 2014 at Penn and has previously worked as the Associate Director for Student Public Service Initiatives at TPIC.

Sutcliffe, who is also a part-time lecturer at Penn, teaches courses in anthropology and group dynamics according to her staff description on the Penn Law website. She has been involved in training human rights attorneys and activists in Zambia, Burkina Faso, Haiti, and Malaysia.

The creation of the new position comes just three months after Penn Law professor Amy Wax was barred from teaching a first-year seminar due to controversial remarks she made about race and free speech.

Other Ivy League law schools have similar positions on their staff, including Columbia University Law School's Dean for Social Justice Initiatives and Yale University Law School's Directors of The Justice Collaboratory. 

Sutcliffe, who has also worked as the Assistant Director, Associate Director, and Pro Bono Coordinator of the TPIC, said in an emailed statement to the Daily Pennsylvanian that she is excited to direct the new program.

“I have been tremendously enriched and inspired by my work with law students over the past seven years and am eager to further support their various efforts toward fostering justice in the world.” 

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