IIT Chicago-Kent student Emil P. Totonchi awarded Peggy Browning Fellowship

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Emil P. Totonchi, a second-year student at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, has been awarded a Peggy Browning Fellowship for the 2010-11 school year. Totonchi will spend 22 weeks working at the Chicago Newspaper Guild, a labor union that has represented reporters, editors, photographers and other newspaper industry employees in the Chicago metropolitan area for more than six decades. The union also represents staffers at the Illinois Federation of Teachers and court interpreters of the Cook County Court System. Totonchi will work with the Chicago Newspaper Guild's general counsel on negotiations and litigation over collective bargaining agreements the union administers.

The Peggy Browning Fellowship program was established in memory of Margaret A. "Peggy" Browning, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Labor Relations Board in 1994. Ms. Browning, the first union-side labor attorney appointed to the NLRB, served until her death in 1997.

A native of Nashville, Tenn., Peggy Browning earned her undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and worked as a social worker with Philadelphia's civil rights commission. She received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where she served as editor of the law review. Ms. Browning spent 15 years representing labor organizations in private, public and federal sectors. In 1985, she was a founding partner of Spear, Wilderman, Borish, Endy, Browning and Spear in Philadelphia.

Second-year student Emil Totonchi is the recipient of a Peggy Browning Fellowship for 2010-11.
Second-year student Emil Totonchi is the recipient of a Peggy Browning Fellowship for 2010-11.

"Peggy Browning fellows are distinguished students who have not only excelled in law school, but have already demonstrated a commitment to workers' rights through their previous educational, volunteer, personal and work experiences," said Mary Anne Moffa, executive director of the Peggy Browning Fund, which administers the fellowship program. "Our fellowships provide law students with unique, diverse and challenging work experiences fighting for social and economic justice in the workplace. These experiences encourage and inspire students to pursue careers in public interest labor law."

Chicago-Kent student Emil P. Totonchi is a candidate for a J.D. with a certificate in labor and employment law. The son of immigrant parents from Iraq and Ireland, Totonchi grew up in Glenview, Ill. He earned a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, with a major in international politics. Totonchi was a member of the Jewish-Arab Peace Band and the executive board of the Young Arab Leadership Alliance.

As an undergraduate, Totonchi also served four years as a student representative to the Licensing Oversight Committee that protects the rights of workers who make products licensed by Georgetown University. He also served as treasurer of the Worker Rights Consortium Governing Board and as a representative to the United Students against Sweatshops.

Before entering law school, Totonchi worked for the Service Employees International Union, for the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center in Jordan, and for the Land Center for Human Rights in Egypt.

At Chicago-Kent, Totonchi is the editor of the Employee and Employment Policy Journal and serves on the Labor and Employment Law Society's executive board. He currently is clerking at Asher, Gittler, Greenfield & D'Alba, Ltd., a Chicago law firm that specializes in labor and employment law. As a summer legal extern at Burgess Law Offices in Chicago, Totonchi provided legal assistance to taxi drivers and day laborers.

Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting university with more than 7,700 students in engineering, sciences, architecture, psychology, design, humanities, business and law.