D.C. Hiegert (they/them), a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law and Kansas native, will join the ACLU of Kansas as a winner of the prestigious Skadden Fellowship, launched in 1988 to steer talented young lawyers into the practice of public-interest law.

Once here, Hiegert will provide direct representation, community education, and policy advocacy for LGBTQ+ Kansans to enforce, strengthen, and expand existing state and federal legal protections and increase awareness of these protections.

"D.C. is an incredible force -- they are an experienced and dedicated advocate who will greatly enhance our affiliate's ability to fight for the rights of LGBTQ+ Kansans," said Sharon Brett, legal director for the ACLU of Kansas. “We’re thrilled to have D.C. join our staff.”

Hiegert, a member of the Foundation’s 2022 class, and one of the 28 fellows from 19 different law schools, will join the affiliate in a few months.

Hiegert is eager to get started.

"Not only am I thrilled at the opportunity to do LGBTQ+ advocacy in my home state, but I’m also thrilled to get to do this work alongside the ACLU of Kansas team," Hiegert said. "LGBTQ+ Kansans are facing constant attacks from the legislature and consistent discrimination in their daily lives—they need advocates fighting for and enforcing their rights. I’m honored to fill that role."

The Skadden Fellowship Foundation has become the largest public interest law firm in the United States. It’s guiding principle is to improve legal services for the poor and encourage economic independence. The Skadden Fellowship has been referred to as the equivalent of a U.S. Supreme Court clerkship for those pursuing public interest work.

The Foundation has funded over 900 fellowships. Ninety percent of former Fellows remain in public service, and almost all of them continue working on the same issues they addressed in their original Fellowship projects. 

The new Fellows will work on a range of legal issues, including access to public benefits, education equity, housing security, rights of people with disabilities, veterans’ benefits, civil collateral consequences of the criminal justice system, immigration and immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ+ rights, worker safety, consumer protection, restorative justice, child welfare and family defense.

The Foundation has funded 934 public interest fellowships. This class will join the existing community of Skadden Fellows who are engaged in public interest work in 41 states. D.C. is only the second Skadden Fellow to receive this award for a Kansas-based project. The first, Ellen Bertels, received the award last year. D.C. and Ellen are KU law school graduates and together started the Gender Marker and Name Change Clinic at KU Law. D.C. is currently clerking on the Kansas Court of Appeals, and will start the fellowship next summer.

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About the ACLU of Kansas: The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For more information, visit our website at www.aclukansas.org.