Daniel J. Curtin, Jr. Fellowship

2014-2015 Fellow

Brett PeanaskyBrett Peanasky

University of Pennsylvania
JD and MCP candidate, 2016

Brett Peanasky is currently pursuing a dual JD + MCP degree program at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to attending Penn, Brett earned a B.A. in Architecture at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After graduation he served as the 2009-2010 Vice President of the American Institute of Architecture Students, worked as a consultant to the American Institute of Architects Center for Emerging Professionals, and was a program intern for the APA Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas.

While studying at Penn, Brett has worked as a green buildings law research assistant to professor Cary Coglianese and a legal intern in the Real Estate & Economic Development Division of the City of Philadelphia Law Department. He also contributes to the Penn Environmental Law Project and the Garden Justice Legal Initiative of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and serves as an associate editor of the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change.

Brett aspires to be both a planner and a lawyer. He plans to build a career that allows him to use the tools of planning and law to effect environmental and civic progress, particularly through land preservation, regional planning and governance, and climate change planning. Brett enjoys reading historical fiction, listening to comedy podcasts, and walking along the streets and paths of Philadelphia with his wife and dog. His favorite cities (so far) are Savannah and London.

About The Program

The Planning and Law Division ("PLD") of the American Planning Association ("APA") serves those who seek to understand the diverse legal issues that affect the planning profession. The legal issues underlying the planning of our cities and communities are important and essential components in the education and training of those who would become professional planners and land use practitioners. The purpose of the PLD Daniel J. Curtin, Jr. Fellowship Program ("Fellowship Program") is to foster increased interest in the study of land use planning and its interrelationship with the law at the advanced undergraduate, graduate, and law school levels. This will provide increased participation in the planning profession, and ultimately, greater service to communities across the nation.

The Fellowship Program is open to third and fourth year undergraduate students, master's degree students, and certain law students. One fellowship with a stipend of $3,000 is awarded per academic year. The stipend includes a $2,000 award and a $1,000 APA membership and Annual Conference stipend. The term of the fellowship is approximately 10 months (the typical length of two semesters or three quarters), from mid-October to mid-August, and will include approximately 100 to 200 total hours of work. The fellow will conduct his/her fellowship duties remotely, i.e., from where they live or attend school.

About Daniel J. Curtin

Daniel J. CurtinSan Francisco native Daniel J. Curtin, Jr., a former member of APA; an expert on the California General Plan, planning law, and land use regulations; and retired partner and of counsel in the Walnut Creek office of Bingham McCutchen LLP, died in 2006. A well-known author, his long list of publications — frequently cited by the California Courts — includes Curtin's California Land Use and Planning Law, a preeminent treatise on California land use law, which is in its 27th edition; and Bargaining for Development: A Handbook on Development Agreements, Annexation Agreements, Land Development Conditions, Vested Rights, and the Provision of Public Facilities, with David L. Callies and Julie A. Tappendorf (Environmental Law Institute, 2003). (Source: Northern California APA website).

Previous Fellows

List of previous fellows

Fellowship Responsibilities & Benefits

If selected for an award by the PLD Fellowship Committee, the fellow's responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, assisting with PLD membership recruitment and retention activities, creating web resources for membership, and significant involvement in PLD's Early Career Program Committee. Fellowship benefits include contact with a network of nationally recognized leaders in the field; access to newsletters, webinars, educational sessions and online resources featuring current legal issues and trends relevant to planning; participation in planning and law networking events; and opportunities for leadership and volunteerism in the planning and law field.


Eligible applicants shall be students who intend to work as practicing planners or legal practitioners in the public or private sector and are:

  • Citizens of the United States; and
  • Students during the 2014-15 academic year who are:
  • Third or fourth year undergraduate students enrolled in a planning program accredited by the PAB ("Planning Accreditation Board");
  • First or second year graduate students enrolled in a planning program accredited by the PAB; or
  • First or second year students enrolled in a three-year ABA-accredited law school program.**
  • First, second, or third year students enrolled in a four-year ABA-accredited law school program.**

**Law students entering their final year of law school may not apply due to conflicts between bar exam studies and the ability to complete the fellowship.

Application Requirements

Applicants for the Fellowship Program shall complete the application form and shall submit all of the following:

  • A personal and background statement written by the student, describing their interest in a career in planning and the law and describing what impact the student wants to make in the planning and law field. The statement should be single-spaced, with one inch margins and 12-point font, and no longer than 1,000 words.
  • One letter of recommendation in support of the student's application and career goals;
  • Official transcripts of current course of study: second year law students should submit law school transcripts, second year planning students should submit planning school transcripts, and first year law or planning students should submit undergraduate transcripts. Student should request transcript with adequate time for receipt by the PLD Fellowship Program Administrator no later than September 12, 2014;
  • A resume of work experience and background;
  • Verification of student enrollment (for current students) or a copy of an acceptance letter from a PAB accredited graduate planning school or a law school (for incoming students); and
  • The student's signature on the application form.

Incomplete applications will not be reviewed by the PLD Committee. To verify the status of your application, send a request to eseeman@rc.com.

Selection Criteria

The PLD Fellowship Committee, appointed by the PLD Chair, will review applications and determine the award winner. Applications will be judged using the following criteria, listed in order of importance:

  • Commitment to planning and the law as reflected in personal statement and resume;
  • Academic achievement and/or improvement during previous two years;
  • Letter of recommendation; and
  • Professional presentation.

As part of the selection process and at the sole option of the PLD Fellowship Committee, the top five applicants may be required to participate in a telephone interview with members of the PLD Fellowship Committee. If required by the PLD Fellowship Committee, the applicant's performance in the telephone interview will serve as an additional criterion for determination of the award.

The Award Process

  • The PLD Fellowship Committee meets in September to review applications and identify and award a fellowship recipient.
  • An alternate is chosen in the event the selected recipient for a PLD fellowship is unable to return to school or if a student recipient fails to submit a written acceptance within the stated period after being notified of award.
  • Award recipient is required to provide a written acceptance of the award to the PLD Chair within ten (10) days of receiving an award notification letter.
  • The PLD Fellowship Program Administrator will announce the name of the award recipient by October 15, 2014.
  • Upon receipt of these required materials, the first $1,000 of the award will be paid to the student by PLD. The next $500 of the award will be paid to the student at the beginning of the Spring 2015 semester (or at the mid-point of the Winter quarter, if the student is on the quarter system), contingent upon the student maintaining a satisfactory level of work in the Fellowship Program, as determined by the PLD Chair. The remaining balance of the award ($500) will be paid in the last month of the fellowship term, contingent upon (a) receipt by the PLD Chair of a written report from the school stating that the student is still enrolled, and (b) the student maintaining a satisfactory level of work in the Fellowship Program, as determined by the PLD Chair.
  • It is the responsibility of the applicant/recipient to notify PLD of any change in address for any and all notices and student membership services.
  • Staff will notify the appropriate APA Chapter President of fellowship recipient in their area.

Chapters are encouraged to involve recipients in Chapter activities and provide mentoring.


The deadline has passed