Graduate Specializing in Elder Law Receives Borchard Fellowship

Jennifer Kye

Jennifer Kye '14 said her Kennedy Fellowship gave her the foot in the door and the experience she needed to land her Borchard Fellowship.

June 23, 2015

Jennifer Kye, a 2014 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, has received a prestigious Borchard Elder Law Fellowship.

She will serve her fellowship at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, where she worked as a UVA Law Robert F. Kennedy '51 Public Service Fellow for the past year representing elderly and disabled clients in Supplemental Security Income cases before the Social Security Administration and in federal court. She also advocates for improved access to services and benefits for clients with limited English proficiency.

"I'm very excited and grateful for the opportunity to expand my work at CLS and carry out this project," Kye said. "I couldn't be happier."

The Borchard Fellowships, presented by the Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging, promote advocacy for elders by supporting three law graduates each year who are doing work or research in the field.

Kye will use her fellowship to implement a project focused on increasing vulnerable seniors' access to Medicaid home and community-based services, which help seniors and the disabled remain in their homes instead of being moved to institutions. Such services include in-home health and personal care services and home modifications.

"Unfortunately, the process of applying and maintaining eligibility for these programs is lengthy and difficult to navigate. As a result, many clients face arbitrary denials and cut-offs of critical services, as well as long delays in getting services started," she said. "My goal is to help broaden the availability of these services and ensure greater awareness by consumers of their rights so that they can advocate for themselves and seek legal assistance when necessary."

While in law school, Kye interned with Community Legal Services ' Aging and Disabilities Unit, as well as the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, the Legal Aid Justice Center's Mental Health Law and Advocacy for the Elderly Clinics, and AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly.

She also served as an executive editor for the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law.

Before law school, Kye worked in Washington, D.C., as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for two nonprofit organizations advocating for low-income, limited English proficient immigrants. She received her B.A. from the University of Virginia in 2008 and hails from McLean, Virginia.

Kye said being offered UVA Law's Kennedy Fellowship positioned her well for the Borchard, which offers $45,000 for a year's work specifically dealing with law and aging.

"The Kennedy Fellowship allowed me to have my dream job straight out of law school, so I will always be thankful for that," Kye said. "I also think having a year of experience as an actual public interest attorney strengthened my Borchard application. By the time I applied, I'd already represented clients in numerous hearings, written federal court briefs, and engaged in administrative advocacy. The knowledge and skills I gained this past year provided a great foundation for my project and the work I'll be doing."

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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