Daniel J. Curtin, Jr. Fellowship

2021-22 Curtin Fellow

Mary Cash
2021–22 Fellow

Mary Cash

Juris Doctor candidate, Georgia State University
Mary Cash is a second year Master's of City and Regional Planning candidate at Georgia Tech and a first year JD candidate at Georgia State University. At Georgia Tech, Mary is the treasurer of the Student Planning Association. She went to The University of the South for her undergraduate BA in Psychology. In her free time, Mary is a historical tour guide at Piedmont Park and an open water swimmer. Mary is excited to marry her planning and law degrees to work in historic preservation and land use in the Southeast US. As a Curtin Fellow, Mary is excited to dive deeper into the intersection of law and planning and how the two can be combined to celebrate the rich histories and diverse landscapes of the Southeast.

2021-22 Research Clerk

Nick Abbott
2021–22 Research Clerk

Daniel Montoya

Juris Doctor candidate, Harvard Law School
Daniel Montoya is originally from Miami, Florida, and Medellin, Colombia. He is a joint degree candidate at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Graduate School of Design (JD/MUP). He studied political science and economics in his undergraduate degree before working as a paralegal in capital markets in New York City. Daniel is very passionate about the intersection of law and urbanism, particularly in the realm of real estate and land-use law. Apart from schooling, Daniel volunteers in the Cambridge city participatory budgeting committee and tenant advocacy in the Boston Metropolitan Area. Daniel is excited to be joining the American Planning Association's Planning and Law Division as a research clerk.

About The Program

The Planning and Law Division ("PLD") of the 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's 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 $2,500 is awarded per academic year. The stipend includes a $1,500 award and a $1,000 APA membership and Annual Conference stipend. The term of the fellowship is approximately ten 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 he/she lives or attends school.

About Daniel J. Curtin, Jr.

Daniel J. Curtin

San Francisco native Daniel J. Curtin, Jr., a former member of the American Planning Association ("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

2019–20 Fellow

Nicholas Abbott

Juris Doctor candidate, Harvard Law School

Nick Abbott is a second-year law student at Harvard Law School. As an undergraduate at Harvard College, Nick concentrated in Social Studies and wrote his thesis about segregation in housing and schools in southwestern Connecticut. Prior to law school, Nick worked as a San Francisco Fellow for the San Francisco's Department of Public Works, where he assisted with the Department's "navigation center" projects for the homeless. Nick has also spent time interning with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Housing Section at the US Department of Justice. Nick is interested in land use law and equitable planning, and he is eager to meet and learn from the members of the Planning and Law Division during his Curtin Fellowship.

Kimberly Ferrari
2019–20 Fellow

Kimberly Ferrari

Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development, Tulane University
Juris Doctor candidate, University of San Diego

Kim Ferrari is a second-year law student at the University of San Diego. She received a BA in Political Economy and Environmental Studies from Tulane University and a Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development from Tulane University. Her master's thesis involved researching transit-oriented development strategies for the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in anticipation of a proposed passenger rail system. Prior to law school, Kim worked at a community bank in New Orleans where she gained experience with community development financing tools such as historic tax credits, new markets tax credits, and low-income housing tax credits. She then worked as a paralegal at Coats Rose, P.C. in New Orleans with the real estate transactional group. Kim is interested in affordable housing and transit-oriented development and, during her Curtin Fellowship, hopes to further examine how housing and environmental laws can create a more sustainable and equitable future for residents in her home state of California.

2018–19 Fellow

Erin Lapeyrolerie

Master of City Planning candidate, UC Berkeley
Juris Doctor candidate, UC Hastings

Erin Lapeyrolerie is in the final year of her Juris Doctor (UC Hastings)/Master of City Planning (UC Berkeley) joint degree program. Prior to this, she earned a BA in economics at New College of Florida. Erin is excited to work with planning and law experts and to independently study the alternative relationships that humans can have with the land and how our relationship with land impacts overall human health and well-being. Examples include regulations around extracting resources from the land and commodification of residential properties. Erin hopes that the knowledge she gains and distributes through this fellowship will lead to concrete actions that she and others can take to work with communities to create healthy, stable, happy, and sustainable neighborhoods.

2017–2018 Fellow

Matthew Norchi

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Law and Urban Planning candidate, 2019

Matthew Norchi is a third-year graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is pursuing a dual degree in law and urban planning. He has a BA in History from the University of South Carolina. Matt is interested in helping to address economic and societal inequality, with particular focuses on equitable land use planning and affordable housing development. This past summer, Matt worked as a summer intern at the City Attorney's Office in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a Curtin Fellow, Matt hopes to learn from experts in the planning and legal fields and develop a deeper understanding of how planning and legal methods can help further affordable housing and community development.

2016–2017 Fellow

Marcus Mello

Harvard University
MArch and MUP candidate, 2018

Marcus Mello is a fourth-year student at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design where he is pursuing dual master's degrees in architecture and urban planning. He received a BA in Art History from Swarthmore College before attending the GSD. Marcus is interested in how policies and laws shape the social and economic conditions of disadvantaged communities, and how designers and policymakers can improve the built environment through physical design and effective policy implementation. Marcus serves as Vice President of the African American Student Union and is co-coordinating a research project that investigates socio-spatial inequities in three major U.S. cities. This past summer, he was a summer associate at the New York City Economic Development Corporation in the Real Estate Transactions Services division. Marcus wants to work at a private design firm and public planning agency during his career. He hopes to build on his knowledge of how planning and legal tools affect fair housing during his Curtin Fellowship.

Leonard Cohen
2015–2016 Fellow

Leonard Cohen

Pace University School of Law
JD Candidate, 2017

Leonard Cohen is a second-year law student at Pace University School of Law in White Plains, New York. Prior to attending Pace, Lenny earned a BA in English and Creative Writing at the University of South Florida. Lenny developed an interest for land use and planning while taking an undergraduate architecture course that focused on sustainable cities. He is currently a Junior Associate on Pace's Environmental Law Review, part of Pace's 4th ranked Environmental Law Program. Lenny served as a summer intern at Pace's Land Use Law Center, where he worked on a variety of issues ranging from fair housing to economic development for New York municipalities. Lenny hopes to further a career in planning and the law and believes his role as Curtin Fellow is the first step down that path. Lenny enjoys the adventurous side to life — bouldering, skiing, and rock climbing. His favorite hike was Yosemite last summer.

Brett Peanasky
2014–2015 Fellow

Brett Peanasky

University of Pennsylvania
JD and MCP candidate, 2016

"I sincerely enjoyed my time as the Daniel J. Curtin Fellow. I am thankful to have had this opportunity to contribute to the work of the Planning and Law Division and interact with so many leaders in the field. This year, I worked with the Early Career Program Committee to begin developing a system to connect students and recent graduates to regional PLD experts, proposed a template for in-depth PLD member spotlights, and wrote an article describing a way that cities can integrate climate change planning and zoning ordinances. I hope to continue to be involved in the Division's efforts to attract new members and connect students and practitioners across generations. This fellowship has deepened my interest in a career in planning law, and I look forward to many more inspiring and interesting APA conferences."

Emily McClendon
2013–2014 Fellow

Emily McClendon

Georgia State University College of Law, J.D. Candidate, 2014
Georgia Institute of Technology, M.S. City and Regional Planning 2011

"I was honored to serve as the 2013–2014 Curtin Fellow. Working with the Planning and Law Committee gave me the opportunity to meet some of the brightest and most passionate practitioners and academics in the industry. By attending the national planning conference, I was exposed to emerging policy issues and novel planning and law solutions to solve them. The PLD fellowship helped me grow professionally and personally, all while inspiring me to continue supporting PLD's work throughout my career."

Melissa Conrad-Alam
2012–2013 Fellow

Melissa Conrad-Alam

University of Georgia
J.D. Candidate, 2014

Melissa is a second year law student at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. While staying in the top 10% of her class, Melissa serves as a member of the UGA Moot Court Team and the Editorial Board of the Georgia Journal for International and Comparative Law, one of the country's oldest student edited law journals. This spring she will travel with the Moot Court team to Vienna to participate in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. And last summer, she served as the sole legal intern for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. Prior to law school, Melissa served as an independent consultant assisting nonprofits and local governments with public policy campaigns and community development projects, including developing and implementing a three month community engagement plan for the Preservation of Pittsburgh engaging more than 1,000 residents in land use planning efforts. Melissa also served as the Associate Director for Georgia Stand-Up, "A Think and Act Tank for Working Communities". In her role at Georgia Stand-Up, she was responsible for leading the BeltLine Community Benefits Campaign, which led to the passage of historic legislation in the City of Atlanta requiring that all projects receiving public subsidies from the $2.8 billion economic development project include community benefits, such as local hiring and workforce development programs. Resulting from those campaign efforts, historic legislation was also passed regarding affordable housing requirements, local hiring and workforce development standards. In October 2010, Melissa was recognized as one of Georgia Trend Magazine's Top 40 under 40 Georgians. She has also been honored with a STAND-UP and Act Award from Georgia STAND-UP and Policy Leader of the Year from the Younger Women's Taskforce of Atlanta. She participated in multiple training programs, including the International Association of Public Participation's certification for public participation professions and the Atlanta Regional Commission's Community Planning Academy. She also served on a number of committees for the City of Atlanta, including the BeltLine Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee and the Atlanta Community Land Trust Collaborative Development Committee.

Abby Kirkbride
2011–2012 Fellow

Abby Kirkbride

University of Colorado
J.D. Candidate; Master's of Urban and Regional Planning, 2013

The 2012 Planning and Law Division Curtin Fellow is Abby Kirkbride. Abby is in her third year of the Juris Doctor / Master of Urban and Regional Planning joint-degree program at the University of Colorado. Her primary professional interest is the exploration of land use issues in the local government context. Abby has completed internships with a Wyoming-based nonprofit where she studied oil and gas issues, and with Clarion Associates where she drafted zoning codes. Currently, she is an intern for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, working on an initiative to increase the amount of local foods in K-12 schools. Abby serves as a student delegate to APA's Colorado Legislative Committee, and is a member of the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy and APA's Student Representatives Council. Abby is a native of Wyoming, where she grew up on her family's cattle ranch. She attended college at John Brown University in Arkansas, graduating cum laude with degrees in history and journalism. She currently lives in Denver with her husband. Abby will work on several Division initiatives, and she has already begun work on membership recruitment efforts.


Leslie (Lee) Wellington

Brooklyn Law School, J.D. Candidate, 2013
Pratt Institute, M.S. in City and Regional Planning Candidate, 2013

Fellowship Experience

"I was honored to have been selected as a PLD Fellow. The fellowship gave me the opportunity to meet with leading academics and practitioners working towards more sustainable and thoughtful land use policies across the country. As a fellow, I was able to assist with planning and outreach for the National APA conferences in Boston and Los Angeles, and work on content development for the PLD blog. I also look forward to sitting on the Fellowship Selection Committee and contributing to the PLD newsletter. I am thankful for this experience, as it has reinforced my decision to pursue a career at the intersection of land use and community development."


Ian Morrison

University of Washington School of Law
J.D. Candidate, 2012

Fellowship Experience

"My PLD fellowship was incredibly enjoyable and solidified my interest in the confluence of planning and law. My primary project was working with PLD lawyers to author a summary of recent litigation where APA chapters filed amicus briefs for the APA Conference. Attending the APA Conference in New Orleans was the highlight of my fellowship. It was wonderful to learn from the Bettman Symposium, meet national PLD leaders, and hear the perspective of planning policymakers like HUD Secretary Donovan and EPA Administrator Jackson. Additionally, I researched and blogged on Pacific Northwest transfer of development rights (TDR) program innovations and recent sign code litigation in Washington State for the PLD website. The PLD fellowship provided an incredible academic and professional experience. I plan on continuing my PLD engagement in the future."

Jessica Morgan

University of Colorado
J.D. Candidate, 2012; Master's in Urban Design & Planning, 2007

Fellowship Experience

"I was very honored to be selected as a Daniel J. Curtin Fellow for the 2009-2010 academic term. It was a wonderful opportunity to interact with the PLD board, and gain valuable insight into the intersection of law and planning. My activities included drafting and executing an online PLD membership survey aimed at better understanding PLD members' needs and areas in which the PLD can improve. I also contributed web content to the PLD website. The PLD is committed to providing a valuable service to the planning community and I was grateful to contribute to that effort."


Dorothy Ariail

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Master's in City Planning, Juris Doctor, 2009

Fellowship Experience

"As a PLD fellow this year, I compiled information on CLE certification for the annual APA conference in order to ensure that participating attorneys received CM credit for their participation. I also conducted a national survey of the law and application of the tests for area and use variance standards for Professor Patty Salkin and contributed research and summaries of planning and legal concepts for the PLD website. I have learned so much from this experience, and I am extremely grateful and honored for the opportunity to have interacted with such a motivated and dedicated group of people."

Kennetha Gaines

University of California, Los Angeles
Master's in African American Studies, 2007; Master's in Urban Planning, 2008

Fellowship Experience

"I am truly honored to have been selected as a PLD fellow for the 2007-08 academic year. At the APA conference in Las Vegas, I met and interacted with exceptional members of the Planning and Law Division. As a PLD fellow, my primary duties included researching state, regional and local initiatives across the country such as California's AB-32 regarding climate change. Additionally, I researched federal and state land-use law decisions that pertain to federal statues such as RLUIPA, ADA and the Telecommunications Act. Currently, I am working on a publication for the PLD newsletter with regard to AB-32 and SB-375. This was a great opportunity for me and I hope to stay an active member with the PLD."

Spring 2007

David Gest

University of Pennsylvania
Master's in City and Regional Planning, 2010
Columbia University
Juris Doctor, 2010

Fellowship Experience

"I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as Daniel J. Curtin Fellow for the 2007 Spring semester. The fellowship exposed me to diverse elements of the planning and law field, and I met many land use lawyers and planners who graciously taught me about their profession and gave me advice on my own career. I completed four major tasks as a fellow: work on the PLD website, drafting a memo on a potential case for the Amicus Committee, summarizing major land use cases for publication on the PLD website, and assembling information regarding Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for attorneys from different states (and administering CLE forms at the APA National Planning Conference in Philadelphia)."

Chris Melendrez

University of New Mexico School of Law
Juris Doctor, 2008

Fellowship Experience

"I am extremely honored to have been chosen as a Planning and Law Division Fellow. It gave me the opportunity to meet several great people and reassured me that despite my relative isolation as a future planning and land use attorney in New Mexico, there is great promise and need for me and others like me."

Fall 2006

Katherine Fischer Cote

University of Washington
Master's in Urban Planning, 2007

Fellowship Experience

"My experience as a PLD Fellow was an enjoyable way to learn more about the intersection of planning and law. I completed two projects during my fellowship term. First, during National Planning Month in October 2006, I coordinated PLD's participation in an APA initiative to broaden public knowledge of planning issues by bringing public service announcements to the radio airwaves. Second, I researched PLD membership in my home state of Washington and wrote an article in the Washington State APA newsletter highlighting PLD membership and activities and briefly describing current topics of planning and law."

Diana Varat

University of California, Los Angeles
Master's in Urban Planning and Juris Doctor, 2008

Fellowship Experience

"As a PLD Fellow, I had the privilege of working with the many talented lawyers and planners on the PLD Board. My primary activities included writing an article for California Planner, to introduce the California Chapter of the APA to the efforts and activities of the PLD. I also researched how the PLD could receive certification for its seminars and conferences to ensure that attorneys who attend PLD events receive continuing legal education credits. I am thankful for the opportunity to have worked with the current PLD Board and I look forward to being actively involved again in the future!"

Spring 2006

Gwendolyn Allen

University of Maryland School of Law
Juris Doctor, 2008
St. Louis University
Master's in Urban Planning, 2003

Fellowship Experience

"I helped to ensure that attorneys attending the Bettmann Symposium at the 2006 Annual APA Conference could earn Continuing Legal Education Credits. We were successful in having the symposium accredited in Texas and California, and I contacted various other states to gather information and the necessary forms to share with attorneys from other states to submit to their Bar Associations. My PLD experience culminated leading up to and during the 2006 conference by helping to prepare reports, coordinating arrangements for the Division meeting, attending leadership meetings, and getting to know some of the incredible members and leaders of PLD!"

Erin Elizabeth Hupp

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Juris Doctor, Master's in Planning

Fellowship Experience

"My experience as a PLD fellow fortified my interest in both planning and law. During my fellowship term, I designed, executed and compiled the 2006 PLD online member survey. I also attended the annual PLD meeting at the National APA Conference in San Antonio, Texas. My fellowship was enjoyable and educational because of the committed PLD board that I was fortunate enough to work with. I hope to continue my involvement with PLD for years to come."