The Squire Patton Boggs Foundation (the Foundation) has honored two Fellowship alumni, Adrienne Harreveld and Michael Novotny, with the 2020 Distinguished Fellow Award. Recipients are recognized for their commitment to justice and addressing the needs of the underrepresented.
“We continue to be amazed by our Fellowship alumni’s level of talent, initiative, and ability to enact change. In the few years since their graduation from our program, what Adrienne and Michael have contributed to our legal system and to our country is remarkable,” said John Oberdorfer, Foundation President. “As we close out our 20th anniversary in an unpreceded year, it seems fitting we reflect on the past, celebrate the present and look towards the future of the Foundation.”
An alumna of the Foundation’s 2017 Fellowship Class, Ms. Harreveld is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, where she was a Miami Public Interest Scholar. She fulfilled her Fellowship at the Florida Justice Institute, where she worked on a class action on behalf of thousands of prison inmates who had been denied treatment for Hepatitis C. The suit ultimately resulted in treatment provided to thousands of inmates.
Ms. Harreveld is now a lawyer at the Capital Defense Project of Southeast Louisiana, focusing on fair jury selection issues. While working on a death penalty trial, she discovered a “computer glitch” that prevented the East Baton Rouge Parish’s jury database from updating properly, and therefore, inadvertently leaving off thousands born after 1993 off the jury rolls. Ms. Harreveld’s work was featured in a front-page article of the New York Times.
“I cannot express my gratitude to the Foundation for not only financial support, but on a professional level as well. Having the opportunity to intern as a 1L at one of the country’s leading organizations for prisoners’ rights meant that I was able to start my law school career embedded and enmeshed with people who are dedicated to criminal justice reform,” said Ms. Harreveld. “I deeply value the long-standing friendships and relationships I have developed with lawyers at Squire Patton Boggs, who continue to play a fundamental role in my development and quest for criminal justice.”
A graduate of the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law and an alum of the 2016 Fellowship Class, Mr. Novotny’s Fellowship took him to DNA People’s Legal Services on Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Arizona. DNA People’s is a nonprofit legal aid organization providing free civil legal services to low income individuals in three states and seven Native American nations. He is now a lawyer at Omaha, Nebraska-based Big Fire Law & Policy Group, a 100% Native owned and majority woman owned national law firm providing legal representation and advocacy in a broad range of service areas, with an emphasis in tribal law and federal Indian law. Mr. Novotny continues his work on Native American issues, including one of his clients he met during his Fellowship. The notable cases Mr. Novotny has handled include a Nebraska Supreme Court case that addressed the Nebraska Indian Welfare Act, among other legal issues, and a highly publicized voting rights case involving 2020 federal and local election mail-in ballots for Navajo Nation citizens in Arizona. Mr. Novotny has published five scholarly works on tribal issues, and has nearly a decade of experience as an archeologist in the Southwest.
“The Fellowship opened up a lot of possibilities that would not have been afforded to me otherwise,” remarked Mr. Novotny. “Living on the Reservation during my Fellowship was truly a cornerstone in my career. The Foundation’s motto “Together We Made It Happen”, quite literally played out with my experience. Having the Foundation’s financial backing combined with the resources of a big law firm made my dream of working in tribal law a reality.”
View a recording of the virtual awards ceremony.
Rooted in a history of civil rights advocacy, the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation originally was funded with lawyers’ fees from a pro bono employment discrimination case. Further information on the Foundation is available here.