Three Michigan Law students receive Peggy Browning Labor Law Fellowship

By Annie Hagstrom

Three Michigan Law students—rising 3Ls Abi Kohn and Marlisa “Marly” Marquez and rising 2L Riley Tigue—have been selected as 2024 Peggy Browning Fellows. The fellowship honors the first union-side labor lawyer to be appointed as a member of the National Labor Relations Board by providing opportunities to law students interested in working for labor unions, practicing labor law, and engaging in labor advocacy.

The Peggy Browning Fund, founded in 1998 by Joseph Lurie, honors the late Margaret “Peggy” Browning. The Peggy Browning Fellowship, the fund’s flagship, provides stipends to law students who spend 10 to 12 weeks working for labor unions, worker centers, labor-related nonprofit organizations, or union-affiliated law firms. From 1999 to 2022, more than 1,300 fellowships were offered to students at 157 law schools.

“I’m thrilled that three of our students were awarded Peggy Browning Fellowships,” said Emily Bretz, ’11, the Law School’s public interest director in the Office of Career Planning. “Each student committed their time to protecting worker’s rights alongside their academic responsibilities. Whether it was at a law firm fighting for fair pay and against discrimination in the workplace or advocating for low-income workers, our students have done and will continue to do great work.”

Meet the 2024 Michigan Law Peggy Browning Fellows

Abi Kohn joined New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), where she is working in the general counsel’s office. Before attending Michigan Law, Kohn lived in New York City for five years, where she began her career as a paralegal at a plaintiff-side employment firm. She later transitioned to working in philanthropy and is now committed to using her legal education to serve working people and strengthen the labor movement.

“I learned about NYSUT through a fellow Michigan Law student who was previously awarded a Peggy Browning Fellowship,” said Kohn. “My experiences at Michigan, including Professor Sanjukta Paul’s Labor Law class and my involvement with the National Lawyers Guild, have solidified my passion for worker-side labor and employment law.

I’m excited to experience contract negotiations during my fellowship this summer. I’m extremely grateful to be part of the cohort and look forward to making more connections through the Peggy Browning Fund’s incredible work.”

Marlisa “Marly” Marquez joined the Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF) in Washington, DC. This summer marks the second time Marquez has received a Peggy Browning Fellowship, through which she plans to become an even greater advocate for low-income workers.

“Growing up in a migrant farm worker family, I witnessed the legal disparities border workers faced,” said Marquez. “Last summer, I collaborated with Farm Worker Justice in DC, and this summer, I’m exploring international labor-based initiatives at GLJ-ILRF.

At Michigan Law, my focus on labor and employment law led me to engage with the Michigan Immigration and Labor Law Association and the Latinx Law Students Association. Additionally, I externed at the UN Refugee Agency in Geneva. As a first-generation college and law school student, I’m grateful for the opportunities Michigan Law and the Peggy Browning Fellowship provide to connect with labor-focused organizations and like-minded individuals.”

Riley Tigue joined McKnight, Canzano, Smith, Radtke & Brault, PC in Berkley, Michigan, for the summer. They plan to serve Michigan-based unions, which have made a positive difference in their life and the lives of their family members.

“When I was younger, my father was treated for cancer at the University of Michigan’s hospital,” said Tigue. “Had my father not been a part of a unionized workforce, where his benefits were protected and his medical care was covered, I don’t know what our lives would look like today. Because of the lifeline unions gave me and my family, I entered Michigan Law knowing I would pursue a career in labor rights.”

Tigue is a member of the Organization of Public Interest Students and the Michigan Immigration and Labor Law Association. They also are the co-president of OutLaws, Michigan Law’s LGBTQ+ student organization.

“Through the Peggy Browning Fellowship, I’m entering a space where, historically, queer identities have not yet been normalized. I’m excited to be given a chance to be that representation and work with the unions that have helped my family.”

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