La’Kendra Deitche, a 2L from Fort Wayne, Indiana, has been selected as one of eight—and the only one from outside the Washington, D.C. area—Karen Hastie Williams Leadership Fellows, a prestigious fellowship awarded by the D.C. Bar.
Deitche will complete a leadership orientation session followed by a six-month fellowship, from January through June 2023, on the D.C. Bar’s Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources community. The D.C. Bar offers 20 communities that help members develop expertise in specific practice areas.
“I am really excited for this opportunity to learn and grow as a leader in a practice area I am passionate about,” she said. “I think this will provide an awesome opportunity for me to learn and grow as a future civil rights attorney.”
Deitche, who serves as president of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Foundation, will receive leadership skills training specifically tailored for future attorneys and the opportunity to put those skills into practice by working one-on-one with current leaders in the legal profession.
“We’re so proud La’Kendra has received this fellowship,” said Dean Christiana Ochoa. “That she was the only fellow selected from outside the Washington, D.C. area and from a national pool of applicants speaks volumes about her past achievements as well as her future potential. We’re grateful to the D.C. Bar for selecting one of our students to participate in this outstanding program.”
Deitche will complete a fellows project throughout the spring semester, attend monthly meetings with community representatives, and produce a post-fellowship reflection on her experience.
Deitche said she was drawn to the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources community because of her interest in how environmental action affects underrepresented populations. She pointed to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan as an example of how environmental, policy, and legal issues intersect to create an immense problem for a specific population.
Deitche was already going to be in Washington, D.C. for the spring semester as part of the Law School’s Semester Public Interest Program, and Professor Sarah Jane Hughes encouraged her to apply for the prestigious position, which used to be called the D.C. Bar Law Student Community’s Leadership Fellowship.
The fellowship was renamed in 2021 to honor groundbreaking attorney Karen Hastie Williams, the first African American law clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court and the first woman and African American partner at Crowell & Moring.