14 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10007





CONTACT: Anita Aboulafia

(212) 267-6646, ext. 225 (phone) (212) 406-9252 (fax)




NEW YORK – June 4, 2004 – The New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) kicked off its 2004 Minority Judicial Internship Program at a reception on May 25 with guest speakers Hon. Joan B. Carey, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, New York City Courts, and Hon. Harold Baer, Jr., U.S. District Court Judge, founder of the internship program and former NYCLA President, and this year’s six minority law students. The Program began in 1989 as a way to “mainstream” minority law students into the legal profession. The interns work in state and federal Judges’ chambers for eight weeks and receive a stipend.


The 2004 interns – New York Law School’s Gustavo N. Fuentes and Latoya Stephens, CUNY School of Law’s Gabriela Leal, Brooklyn Law School’s Malik Pearson, Columbia University School of Law’s Mychii Snape, and Benjamin Cardozo School of Law’s Florence Yee – have already had extensive work and volunteer experience prior to their admission to law school. During their internship, they will attend trials and oral arguments, perform legal research, draft memoranda and gain “hands-on” courtroom experience. NYCLA’s Committee on Minorities and the Law, which oversees the program, will provide a series of orientation sessions and writing workshops to hone the necessary skills for participants’ successful internships and legal careers.


The law students will intern with Judge Baer, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Cheryl Chambers, Manhattan Supreme Court Justices Charles Tejada, William Wetzel and James A. Yates, and Bronx Supreme Court Justice Troy Webber.


New York County Lawyers’ Association was founded in 1908 as the first major bar association in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.



New York County Lawyers’ Association Minority Judicial Interns – 2004



GUSTAVO FUENTES is a first-year student at New York Law School, where he is a member of the American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, Latino Law Student Association, and the IP and Patent Law Society. Mr. Fuentes, who grew up in a poor neighborhood in New Orleans, holds both a B.S. and an M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of New Orleans, where he received a merit-based, full-tuition Dean of the Graduate School Scholarship. While he was an undergraduate, he participated in an extensive study of the aquatic life of Lake Pontchartrain.


Mr. Fuentes has worked as a grant manager in the Department of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History and as a legal intern at the Conflicts of Interests Board of the City of New York. The first year at New York Law School has given him a new understanding and greater appreciation of the unique legal system of United States. He expects that the internship will afford him the opportunity to view the creation of the law from inside the legal system and, more importantly, help him more fully achieve his potential.


Mr. Fuentes will be interning with Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Cheryl Chambers.



GABRIELA LEAL is a June 2005 J.D. Candidate at CUNY Law School. She graduated from Baylor University in 2002 with a Major in History, and a Minor in Political Science.


Ms. Leal worked as a Legal Advocate for Texas Rural Legal Aid in Edinburg, Texas in 2002-2003, where she represented tenants in housing disputes in Justice of the Peace Court, seeking to prevent evictions and unfair treatment of tenants. Ms. Leal also worked as a volunteer for the Hidalgo County Bar Association in Edinburg and Casa Hogar, an orphanage in Reynosa, Mexico. She also conducted educational seminars for the local police departments.

Ms. Leal was raised in South Texas and was able to travel back and forth to Mexico. Both of her parents grew up in Mexico and originally had little education. She was inspired by her father, who obtained his law degree at the age of 47. Ms. Leal decided to attend CUNY School of Law because of its focus on public interest. She would eventually like to be a judge.


Ms. Leal will intern with United States District Court Judge Harold Baer, Jr.



MALIK PEARSON is a June 2006 J.D. Candidate at Brooklyn Law School. He was raised in Anchorage, Alaska, and he graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1995 with a B.A. in Business Administration. While attending college, he worked part-time in the computer division at the U.S. District Court, and was hired after graduation to work full-time. Eventually, Mr. Pearson became the systems manager for the U.S. Pretrial Services offices in Seattle and Tacoma.


After arriving in New York in 2000, Mr. Pearson started a small computer consulting business. He eventually acquired the New York Times, two television shows and a small law firm as clients. In 2002 he became the IT Director for a small Manhattan law firm and he entered Brooklyn Law School in the fall of 2003. He is currently volunteering for a program in New York City high schools sponsored by the New York Civil Rights Coalition, Unlearning Stereotypes.


Mr. Pearson has been inspired by NYCLA’s stance on social issues such as increased minority representation throughout the legal profession.

Mr. Pearson will be interning with Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James A. Yates.



MYCHII SNAPE is a first-year student at Columbia University School of Law, where she participates in the Tenant’s Rights Project. She is a 2003 graduate of Scripps College, in Claremont, California. As an undergraduate, she interned in the Admissions Office and she was a Research Assistant in a study to determine the potential effect of the changes in social security proposed by 2000 presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore on African Americans. She was a member of the Scripps Leadership Planning Committee, responsible for the creation and implementation of a comprehensive leadership institute and curriculum. In the summer of 2002, she interned in the Office of a Boston City Councilwoman. She was also a cheerleader. She completed her B.A. in three years with a Major in Politics and International Relations.


Ms. Snape is interested in applying critical analysis and research skills to examine the impact of law on individuals and corporate entities. She believes that participating in the judicial process and being matched with a legal mentor will greatly increase her practical knowledge of the law and of the ethical issues involved in the legal process.


Ms. Snape will intern with Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Tejada.



LATOYA STEPHENS is a second-year student at New York Law School. She graduated from Williams College with a B.A. and Departmental Honors in Philosophy. At Williams, she was a tutor in the Partners in Reading and A Better Chance Programs, and Co-Director of the Gospel Choir. During her junior year, she studied abroad at Oxford University, England. She completed her first year of law school at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she was a volunteer in the Streetlaw Program and the St. Paul Tenant’s Union.


Ms. Stephens has worked for St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital, the New York City Housing Authority and in public relations for Race for a Cure for Cancer.


Ms. Stephens will intern with Bronx Supreme Court Justice Troy Webber.



FLORENCE YEE is a first-year student at Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, where she is a member of the Courtroom Advocates Project, the Center for Battered Women’s Uncontested Divorce Project and the Intellectual Property Law Students Association. She is also Co-Founder of the Wine Appreciation Society. She was on the Dean’s List at both Cornell University, where she received a B.A. in Economics in 1997, and Hunter College, where she has done post-graduate studies in Biology. Her non-legal experience includes website and database design, and cofounding a handbag company.


Ms. Yee believes that a judge’s role is not just to resolve disputes, but also to give meaning to our public values. She believes that the Minority Judicial Internship Program will further enhance her commitment to serving the public sector and the law. As an attorney, she hopes that she will not just be an advocate for her client; she aspires to exemplify our public values by providing public service to the community.


Ms. Yee will intern with Manhattan Supreme Court Justice William Wetzel.