Spring 2015

Robert Fiske, ’55, with the 2014 Fiske Fellows (left to right): Samuel Hall, ’13, Elizabeth Grossman, ’12, Meredith Garry, ’13, and Austin Hakes, ’12.


2014 Fiske Fellows Gratefully Pursue Their Passions

By Amy Spooner

If hindsight really produces 20/20 vision, then the past year has made one thing crystal clear for the 2014 Fiske Fellows: The fellowship was life changing.

“The Fiske Fellowship allows me to focus on leading and serving Marines, and for that I am profoundly grateful,” says Austin Hakes, ’12, a judge advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Fiske Fellowship was established in 2001 by Robert Fiske, ’55, a senior counsel at Davis Polk & Wardwell and a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Three-year fellowships are awarded annually to up to four Michigan Law graduates who serve as government lawyers. 

Fellows receive a $5,000 first-year cash stipend and debt repayment assistance to cover required annual payments for all educational loans, a combination that provides much-needed financial breathing room.

“I’m debt averse, so in my decision making I tend to put undue weight on potential debt and cost,” says Samuel Hall, ’13, with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section. “The Fiske Fellowship meant that when I was starting my career, I could focus on what was best for me.”

In establishing the fellowship, Fiske hoped to encourage more Michigan Law students and recent graduates to consider government service, despite the lure of larger paychecks in the private sector. The 2014 fellows demonstrate that he has achieved his goal once again. 

“I work every day on issues that I am passionate about,” says Meredith Garry, ’13, a field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board. “I continue to learn and develop a variety of skills that will serve as a foundation for a long and rewarding career.”

Additionally, the fellows have had the chance to work on some of the country’s most vexing problems. “I feel lucky to have been able to work for the government right out of law school,” says Elizabeth Grossman, ’12, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services Office of the Chief Counsel. “It’s been a huge learning experience and a fascinating time to be working in immigration law.”