Promoting innovative partnerships between lawyers and community organizations

In honor of Harvard Law School Professor David Grossman’s memory as a mentor, teacher, and advocate for the poor, the David Abraham Grossman Fund for Social Justice works to promote social justice by fostering innovative partnerships between lawyers and community organizations. The Fund supports fellowships and grants that enable law students and young lawyers to engage in and to develop law and organizing partnerships and new approaches to fighting poverty.

The fund is managed as a dedicated fund at Harvard Law School that is set aside to create new fellowships and grants that enable lawyers to work with community organizations toward positive social change. Every $55,000 raised by the David Abraham Grossman Fund will be able to support an additional fellowship.  The Fund’s goal is to raise $1 million in order to permanently endow a fellowship.

The DAG Fund supports work in the following areas:

  • Fellowships for lawyers and community organizers to work at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau toward community organization-lawyer partnerships
  • Fellowships for Harvard Law School graduates to work in community organization-lawyer partnerships
  • Grants for Harvard Law School students to create partnerships between law students, lawyers, and community organizations

Rebecca Donaldson awarded DAG Fund Fellowship


We are thrilled to announce that Rebecca Donaldson, HLS ’16, has been named the DAG Fund fellow for 2017-2018. Rebecca, who just completed a clerkship with the Hon. Virginia M. Kendall in the Northern District of Illinois, already has impressive experience as a women's rights advocate, having worked with both the National Women's Law Center and the ACLU on issues including sex discrimination, unfair labor practices, housing, and domestic violence.

Rebecca will use her fellowship to work in her hometown of Milwaukee and partner with Legal Action of Wisconsin where she will lead a pilot project focused on aiding victims of violent sexual crimes. Oftentimes, victims are required by law to provide their mental health records which, if given, can be used to discredit them. If the victim refuses to comply, she cannot testify in her own defense. Rebecca will provide direct civil representation to survivors while helping to build a movement around empowering women.

Joey Michalakes '16 awarded inaugural DAG Fund Fellowship

Joseph (Joey) Michalakes will spend his fellowship term in the housing and employment units in Greater Boston Legal Services, where he will work in tandem with other staff attorneys as well as community organizations to develop strategies for combating displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods in Greater Boston, both through direct representation in eviction defense and affirmative employment litigation and community legal education.  At HLS, Joey served for two years as a student attorney at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB), where he worked primarily in the Housing and Wage & Hour practice groups.  His casework chiefly involved representing tenants in no-fault and for-cause eviction proceedings in Boston Housing Court and low-wage workers who had been unlawfully deprived of regular wages or overtime in affirmative lawsuits.  Joey also served for a year on the HLAB Board as its Outreach Director, in which capacity he helped expand HLAB’s longtime partnership with housing justice organization City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU) to its emergent East Boston site and also developed community partnerships with area immigration legal services organizations so that HLAB’s Family Practice could begin working on cases involving Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) adjudications in Probate and Family Court.  During law school, Joey also served as a student attorney and Immigration Services director with the Harvard Immigration Project (HIP), where he worked on green card and derivative asylum applications on behalf of immigrants recently granted asylum in the United States.  He also worked at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) his 1L Summer as the Cleary Gottlieb Fellow, and the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP) as an intern during his 2L summer.  Joey holds an A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard College and an M.A. in Teaching from Cardinal Strich University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Between college and law school, Joey worked as a bilingual third grade teacher in Milwaukee through Teach for America.