Equal Justice Works

Equal Justice Works At Equal Justice Works, we believe that a community of lawyers committed to public service can fulfill our nation’s promise of equal justice for all.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

-What is Equal Justice Works? Equal Justice Works is the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law. We bring together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, legal services organizations, and supporters to promote a lifelong commitment to public service and equal
justice. Following their Fellowships, more than 85 percent of our Fellows

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

-What is Equal Justice Works? Equal Justice Works is the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law. We bring together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, legal services organizations, and supporters to promote a lifelong commitment to public service and equal
justice. Following their Fellowships, more than 85 percent of our Fellows

Operating as usual

2019 Fellow August Hieber combined two issue areas—elder abuse and LGBTQ+ rights—to create Chicago's first mobile legal ...
12/22/2021
August Hieber helps create access to legal services for older LGBT adults

2019 Fellow August Hieber combined two issue areas—elder abuse and LGBTQ+ rights—to create Chicago's first mobile legal clinic specifically for LGBTQ+ elders. Throughout the duration of their Fellowship with The Center for Disability and Elder Law in Chicago, Illinois, August provided culturally-responsive legal services to an expansive community with largely unment needs.

“Taking care of a community’s elders is a testament to the resilience of a community,” they said. “It was really gratifying and satisfying because I was investing in my future and the future for people like me.”

Post-Fellowship, August has taken the idea of caring for a community to another level: They now serve as the manager of programs and advocacy at the Chicago Bar Foundation, with the goal of making court processes more accessible. “I’ve been given a lot of ability to pursue this inquiry where it goes, which is really cool.”

August Hieber, who uses they/them pronouns, has focused their legal career on assisting senior citizens who are part of the LGBT community.

In celebration of his commitment to public service and pro bono, we recently presented Brian Ellis, Senior Vice Presiden...
12/21/2021
2021 Scales of Justice Honoree Brian Ellis in conversation with Judge Ann Claire Williams

In celebration of his commitment to public service and pro bono, we recently presented Brian Ellis, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Danaher Corporation, with the Scales of Justice Award. Brian is a firm believer in our mission to build a persisting community of lawyers committed to public service, and in conversation with his dear friend Judge Ann Claire Williams, he shared his reasons for supporting Equal Justice Works: “Talking to those Fellows and seeing the passion in what they’re doing…that really makes a difference. That’s what gets me going. That’s what got me hooked with Equal Justice Works. It’s the special part about this organization, that there’s so much great work that these Fellows are doing.”

As 2021 comes to a close, so does our year-end campaign. Will you join Brian in supporting our Fellows and the communities they serve?
equaljusticeworks.org/donate-2021

2021 Scales of Justice Honoree, Brian Williams, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Danaher Corporation, sat down for a fireside chat with Judge Ann...

12/21/2021
End-of-Year Campaign 2021: Scales of Justice Honoree Brian Ellis

In celebration of his commitment to public service and pro bono, we recently presented Brian Ellis, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Danaher Corporation, with the Scales of Justice Award. Brian is a firm believer in our mission to build a persisting community of lawyers committed to public service, and in conversation with his dear friend Judge Ann Claire Williams, he shared his reasons for supporting Equal Justice Works: “Talking to those Fellows and seeing the passion in what they’re doing…that really makes a difference. That’s what gets me going. That’s what got me hooked with Equal Justice Works. It’s the special part about this organization, that there’s so much great work that these Fellows are doing.”

As 2021 comes to a close, so does our year-end campaign. Will you join Brian in supporting our Fellows and the communities they serve? equaljusticeworks.org/donate-2021

12/20/2021

Equal Justice Works invites law students with a passion for public interest to join us for a Summer of Service! Rural Summer Legal Corps and Disaster Resilience Program applications are officially open.

Student Fellows—first and second year law students—will spend the summer gaining hands-on experience by working with legal aid organizations to serve communities in need. Upon completion of the program, participants will receive a $5,000 stipend.

“It afforded me the opportunity to get real legal aid experience and confirm that I am invested in pursuing a career in public interest,” said 2021 Rural Summer Legal Corps Student Fellow Justin Small.

Learn more about the programs and start your application on our website. equaljusticeworks.org/news/hey-law-students-explore-your-public-interest-passions-with-equal-justice-works/

A gift to Equal Justice Works supports the efforts of hundreds of public interest lawyers as they work to close the acce...
12/17/2021

A gift to Equal Justice Works supports the efforts of hundreds of public interest lawyers as they work to close the access-to-justice gap in underserved communities around the country—can we count on your support before the end of the year? ➡️ https://www.equaljusticeworks.org/donate-2021/

A gift to Equal Justice Works supports the efforts of hundreds of public interest lawyers as they work to close the access-to-justice gap in underserved communities around the country—can we count on your support before the end of the year? ➡️ https://www.equaljusticeworks.org/donate-2021/

Law students, what are you doing this summer? Explore a career in public interest by participating in our Rural Summer L...
12/15/2021

Law students, what are you doing this summer? Explore a career in public interest by participating in our Rural Summer Legal Corps or Disaster Resilience Program! Applications for these Student Fellowships open on December 20. 🗓️

To learn more about these Summer of Service opportunities, visit our website.
equaljusticeworks.info/SummerOfService

Law students, what are you doing this summer? Explore a career in public interest by participating in our Rural Summer Legal Corps or Disaster Resilience Program! Applications for these Student Fellowships open on December 20. 🗓️

To learn more about these Summer of Service opportunities, visit our website.
equaljusticeworks.info/SummerOfService

Equal Justice Works executive director David Stern was a recent guest on Seyfarth's Pioneers and Pathfinders podcast, wh...
12/14/2021
Pioneers and Pathfinders: David Stern

Equal Justice Works executive director David Stern was a recent guest on Seyfarth's Pioneers and Pathfinders podcast, where he spoke about our efforts to close the access-to-justice gap by enabling passionate public interest lawyers to work in underserved communities across the country. Listen for free on their website, or wherever podcasts are found!

The justice gap is one of the most serious issues facing our country. Of low-income Americans experiencing civil legal problems, the vast majority receive inadequate or no legal help at all. This gap…

Fair access to education is a universal human right, but thousands of families in the United States face barriers to pro...
12/13/2021
Sacrifice the Status Quo, So Families Don’t Have to Sacrifice for Education - Equal Justice Works

Fair access to education is a universal human right, but thousands of families in the United States face barriers to providing their children with the best education possible when students are forced out of schools due to their identities. Policies rooted in racism and sexism have pushed countless Black girls out of the classroom, and 2020 Fellow Sabrina Bernadel is engaging in federal and state policy advocacy to recenter the conversation on school safety around the needs of girls of color.

"For Black girls in this country, school was not safe even before the pandemic—and although the pandemic has changed the educational landscape in the United States, it has not changed how bias influences the way educators and school police discipline Black girls," writes Sabrina. Read more about the work she's doing at the National Women's Law Center to highlight the race- and gender-based harms of school police on our website.

2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow Sabrina Bernadel discusses her work ensuring equal access to education for girls of color.

Fellows Ndome Essoka, Eliza McDuffie, and Julia Mitzutani are standing up for equality and justice through the work of t...
12/11/2021
Reducing Inequalities, Advancing Human Rights - Equal Justice Works

Fellows Ndome Essoka, Eliza McDuffie, and Julia Mitzutani are standing up for equality and justice through the work of their Equal Justice Works Fellowships. For Universal Human Rights Day, read about their projects—centered on improving access to maternal healthcare for low-income pregnant people of color, expanding the rights of unhoused youth in Washington, and ending solitary confinement for Georgia youth, respectively—in our latest blog.

In recognition of Human Rights Day 2021, Equal Justice Works celebrates the work of Fellows Julia Mizutani, Ndome Essoka, and Eliza McDuffie.

The Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (also known as the Remain in Mexico policy) are restarting because of an orde...
12/09/2021
‘Remain in Mexico’ program begins in El Paso amid skepticism from advocates

The Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (also known as the Remain in Mexico policy) are restarting because of an order from a federal judge in Texas. However, some immigration advocates, including 2015 Fellow Shaw Drake, argue that the actions taken by the Biden administration go beyond what is required by the court order.

“Yet again, we see the Biden administration breaking its own campaign promises and falling far afield from where they promised to be on border and immigration policy,” said Drake, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union Border Rights Center.

Migrant shelters in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, are told to expect 30 to 35 MPP enrollees a day.

2019 Fellow Joonu-Noel Andrews Coste spent her Fellowship with Disability Rights North Carolina addressing the state of ...
12/09/2021
Punching, predators, neglect: Kids suffer inside dismal North Carolina psychiatric centers

2019 Fellow Joonu-Noel Andrews Coste spent her Fellowship with Disability Rights North Carolina addressing the state of North Carolina's over-reliance on Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTF) to provide vulnerable youth with mental health services. Recently, USA Today's Investigative Team dug into the mistreatment of youth in these facilities, bringing her work into the national spotlight.

Youth psychiatric facilities should be a safe space. But an investigation shows many North Carolina kids aren't getting what they came for: treatment.

Equal access to healthcare is an access-to-justice issue, and we're proud to support Equal Justice Works Fellows who are...
12/08/2021
CCF 2021 | Fighting to Preserve Abortion Access at the Local, State, and Federal Levels

Equal access to healthcare is an access-to-justice issue, and we're proud to support Equal Justice Works Fellows who are working to protect reproductive rights amidst uncertainty and rollbacks in courtrooms across the country. In October, we were joined by a cohort of incredible lawyers working in reproductive rights for our Conference and Career Fair panel titled "Fighting to Preserve Abortion Access at the Local, State, and Federal Levels."

Monica Edwards (URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity), Rosann Mariappuram (Jane's Due Process), Hillary Schneller '12 (Center for Reproductive Rights), Rupali Sharma (The Lawyering Project), and Clara Spera '19 (ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project) spoke about their law school experiences and career paths, shared their opinions on the status of reproductive health in the United States, and gave advice to law student attendees of the conference who were interested in working in the field.

"I think we're also fighting for the rule of law and for the integrity of our profession," said Rupali. "I feel like every court, every instance in which this law has been able to stay in effect for me has been a blow to the rule of law."

Whether you're interested in pursuing a career in reproductive justice or keeping informed on current events, this can't-miss panel is out of the archives and posted on YouTube for all to enjoy.

On May 19, 2021, the Texas legislature passed a law banning abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy, well before many women even know they are pregnant. S...

2021 is quickly coming to an end, but there's still time to support Equal Justice Works before we close the book on this...
12/08/2021
Donate - Equal Justice Works

2021 is quickly coming to an end, but there's still time to support Equal Justice Works before we close the book on this year. In the spirit of the holidays, we're asking our community to include us in your end-of-year philanthropic efforts by making a donation in honor of our Fellows. Your gift will empower the work of hundreds of dedicated public service leaders as they strive to close the access-to-justice gap in communities across the country—can we count on you to help us meet our year-end goal?

Equal Justice Works relies on your support to ensure that our nation's promise of equal justice for all is fulfilled by passionate public service leaders.

2020 Fellow Ty Pinkins joined our staff meeting today to speak about his Fellowship at Mississippi Center for Justice. M...
12/07/2021

2020 Fellow Ty Pinkins joined our staff meeting today to speak about his Fellowship at Mississippi Center for Justice. Much of Ty's work focuses on assisting community members who have been called to justice court, a unique facet of the Mississippi legal system where community-elected judges preside over small, civil cases.

"My Equal Justice Works Fellowship has allowed me the opportunity to speak to community members before they go into court," said Ty. "99% of defendants I've seen in these lower income communities have no legal representation, [while] over 70% of [plaintiffs] have legal representation in the courtroom."

Ty told several stories of defendants who were brought to court by hospitals, credit card companies, and payday loan agencies over debts of no more than $3,500. Many community members walk into the courthouse with little or no knowledge of their options, which is where Ty comes in—he's able to advise defendants on their cases, and suggest alternatives like payment plans or delays. 70% of pro se litigants in justice court are Black women, and Ty's assistance can make a huge difference in their day-to-day lives. For one single mother, the fear of months of garnished paychecks was assuaged when he advised that she request a longterm payment plan to pay back medical debt.

"This is why I decided to go to law school," Ty told us. "[To help] my community members."

2020 Fellow Ty Pinkins joined our staff meeting today to speak about his Fellowship at Mississippi Center for Justice. Much of Ty's work focuses on assisting community members who have been called to justice court, a unique facet of the Mississippi legal system where community-elected judges preside over small, civil cases.

"My Equal Justice Works Fellowship has allowed me the opportunity to speak to community members before they go into court," said Ty. "99% of defendants I've seen in these lower income communities have no legal representation, [while] over 70% of [plaintiffs] have legal representation in the courtroom."

Ty told several stories of defendants who were brought to court by hospitals, credit card companies, and payday loan agencies over debts of no more than $3,500. Many community members walk into the courthouse with little or no knowledge of their options, which is where Ty comes in—he's able to advise defendants on their cases, and suggest alternatives like payment plans or delays. 70% of pro se litigants in justice court are Black women, and Ty's assistance can make a huge difference in their day-to-day lives. For one single mother, the fear of months of garnished paychecks was assuaged when he advised that she request a longterm payment plan to pay back medical debt.

"This is why I decided to go to law school," Ty told us. "[To help] my community members."

December is Universal Human Rights Month, and we're uplifting the work of Fellows whose projects seek to address violati...
12/07/2021
Technology Adoption around the Criminal Justice System is a Tightrope - Equal Justice Works

December is Universal Human Rights Month, and we're uplifting the work of Fellows whose projects seek to address violations of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 2019 Fellow Ben Winters was hosted by the Electronic Privacy Information Center; his Fellowship addressed the inherent biases present in the data and algorithms that play a role in automated decision-making systems utilized by the criminal justice system. AI has the power to violate the universal right to privacy, and in the United States criminal justice system, it often does.

"Regardless of the intentions of the technology, if you feed the automation technology crime data that already contains racial biases, it will create outputs that are inherently biased," wrote Ben. "Automated technology in the criminal justice system has become an industry where gaps in access to justice are encoded and exacerbated."

Equal Justice Works Fellow Ben Winters describes the fine line between helpful and harmful advancements in legal technology.

Linda Anderson Stanley, senior program manager at Equal Justice Works, recently sat down for a conversation about our Di...
12/06/2021
Legal Services for Disaster Victims with Linda Anderson Stanley

Linda Anderson Stanley, senior program manager at Equal Justice Works, recently sat down for a conversation about our Disaster Resilience Program with Mass Tort News. Linda spoke with LegalCast host Elisa D'Amico about her public interest career, the field of disaster law, and the accomplishments of our Disaster Resilience Program Fellows.

"The main goal [of the Disaster Resilience Program] is to ensure that legal services are equitably accessible before, during, and after disaster...They are making sure that recovery efforts are accessible for individuals with disabilities, providing immigration relief to help mitigate the risk factors that make immigrants more vulnerable in times of disaster, helping keep families housed and securing benefits for home repair and food and unemployment, and the list just really goes on."

Linda Anderson Stanley is a senior program manager at Equal Justice Works, where she leads the organization’s Disaster Resilience Program. A lifetime public ...

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Join us tomorrow! We are hosting a virtual space with ACLU of the District of Columbia to #DC community members who have experienced or are passionate about Stop-N-Frisk Equal Justice Works Fellow Carlos Andino invites you to register at tinyurl.com/wsavd9ds Full podcast with Empower DC: https://t.co/Kd88SMW7i
Join NYC Votes and Cesar Ruiz Equal Justice Works Fellow Sponsored by the Lavan Harris Family (hosted by @latinojustice) on Dec.9th at 6PM EST for a conversation around the #Redistricting process and how it will impact our communities. ➡️RSVP :http://voting.nyc/redistricting-1209
Spread the word! 🗂 With many thanks to Uptown People's Law Center, Equal Justice Works, United, and Northwest Center, we are happy to announce that many documents related to the Just Housing Amendment are now available in 7 additional languages on our website. Check them out here: https://bit.ly/JustHousingAmendment #CookCounty #HumanRights #KnowYourRights
TUNE IN #TODAY: Hear from Carlos Andino, Equal Justice Works Fellow, and Caitlin Holbrook, DC Justice Lab on Stop-N-Frisk and the #DC Jail Tune in at 1PM: wpfwfm.org RSVP to hear more about Stop-N-Frisk in DC on Thursday: http://tinyurl.com/wsavd9ds
Evanston's Moran Center for Youth Advocacy expands education advocacy program to Rogers Park Pilot program provides free educational advocacy and restorative justice to low-income students _________ The James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy announced yesterday that it will expand its Education Advocacy Program (“EAP”) to Chicago's Rogers Park to further disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. Moran Center’s EAP Rogers Park Project, a two-year pilot program, will provide free educational advocacy and restorative justice to students living in and/or attending school in Rogers Park. The program is supported through an Equal Justice Works fellowship sponsored by Nike, Inc. The Moran Center EAP advocates to ensure that children with special needs, learning disabilities, mental health challenges, and/or traumatic experiences receive an equitable education with the support and services they deserve. EAP attorneys have represented low-income students who live in and/or attend school in Evanston, and with the launch of the Rogers Park Project, students living in and/or attending school in Rogers Park will also be eligible for the program. The Moran Center’s legal services are free to qualified clients, but clients may be responsible for costs and fees associated with the representation, including expert fees, evaluation fees, and filing fees. Applications and information are available on the Moran Center’s website at moran-center.org. Patrick Keenan-Devlin, Moran Center's executive director, said that this expansion demonstrates the need for programs like EAP. “The Moran Center exists to advocate for young people who may not have anyone else to help them, and this program can help avert a serious crisis for young people with special needs whose families are already struggling to make ends meet," he said. "EAP was designed specifically to provide support for students who are experiencing difficulty in school, having issues with their special education services, or facing school exclusion, and we are so pleased to have the opportunity to expand it into the greater Chicago area.” The project will be led by the Moran Center’s Equal Justice Works fellow, Andy Froelich. Andy has worked as an education advocate at the Moran Center since 2020 and recently graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Throughout law school, Andy advocated for children in education, child protection, and domestic relations matters through his work with Loyola’s ChildLaw Clinic and Stand Up For Each Other Chicago (SUFEO).
Opportunity today 12/1, learn more about the temporary waiver for the PSLF program: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6604776662789796112 PSLF Coalition and Equal Justice Works hosting.
Spread the word! 📣 With many thanks to Uptown People's Law Center, Equal Justice Works, United, and Northwest Center, we are happy to announce that many documents related to the Just Housing Amendment are now available in 7 additional languages on our website. Check them out here: https://bit.ly/JustHousingAmendment #CookCounty #HumanRights #KnowYourRights
Thomas Edwards joined our staff last month through a two-year Equal Justice Works fellowship sponsored by Mondelēz International. He will be working in our Law Project to develop a Family Law practice at CCH. We asked Thomas to introduce himself.
📢 Read a blog by Cesar Ruiz, a 2021 Equal Justice Works fellow sponsored by The Lavan Harris Family hosted by @latinojustice. Cesar talks about his work at #LJP & how he is helping enhance access to voting for underrepresented #Latino communities in #NY & #FL! https://www.equaljusticeworks.org/news/safeguarding-the-right-to-vote-for-latinx-community-members/
Fernanda Herrera Spieler joined the Resilience Force team to fight for better, safer working conditions for the workforce rebuilding America when climate disasters strike. Watch her inspiring story, via Equal Justice Works
📢 Join our Equal Justice Works fellow today for a presentation on the history of the of Young Lords and their connection to LatinoJustice PRLDEF! Cesar Z. Ruiz Equal Justice Works Fellow Sponsored by the Lavan Harris Family will be presenting during this session! ➡️Register here: https://bit.ly/2YUkQcs
Welcome to Tomi Robb, the latest addition to our team at TALS! Tomi is an Equal Justice Works fellow, sponsored by International Paper. She will work to prevent evictions and to secure additional income for tenants, as well as Mom & Pop landlords to assist the many Tennesseans who are at risk of becoming homeless. We are so excited to see the how Tomi's intelligence and drive will shape Tennessee's #2Gen legal services! In her own words, Tomi describes her work: “The generosity of my sponsor, International Paper, has given me the opportunity through TALS to partner with THDA and legal aid firms across the state to provide financial assistance and housing stability services to Tennesseans through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. It is my goal to establish a legal services delivery model that combines eviction prevention work and wrap around legal services to increase housing stability at a critical time in Tennessee. I will be focusing on improving housing stability through increasing income and removing civil legal barriers to self-sufficiency for vulnerable households. I also have the opportunity to partner with firms, law schools, and attorneys across the state to engage in pro bono activities and help with reentry issues such as voter rights restoration, certificates of employability, expungements, and driver’s license reinstatement. This opens the door to improved employment and housing opportunities. I want to see communities empowered to rise and this work gives me a chance to do that.”