Equal Justice Works Blog

Equal Justice Works Launches the Immigrant Children’s Defense Corps, a justice AmeriCorps Initiative

October 17, 2014


Equal Justice Works is proud to announce the launch of the Immigrant Children’s Defense Corps – an initiative of justice AmeriCorps that supports immigrant children who have crossed the U.S. border without a parent or guardian as they navigate complex immigration court proceedings. The effort is led by Equal Justice Works, in partnership with Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), to deploy 55 full-time Members (45 lawyers and 10 paralegals) to provide legal representation to unaccompanied children in 14 cities nationwide.


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Future Fellows: Equal Justice Works Launches Baby Bib Campaign!

October 13, 2014

This month, Equal Justice Works kicks off its “Future Fellows” baby bib campaign! A number of Equal Justice Works alumni, sponsors, and staff members have already submitted photos—below is a preview of some “Future Fellows” in the making. Many thanks to everyone who participated in the first part of our series!

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Fellow Jessica Emerson (’13) Files First Motion Under the Maryland Human Trafficking Victim Protection Act

October 8, 2014

2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow Jessica Emerson, who directs the Trafficking Victims Post-Conviction Advocacy Project (TVPCAP) at the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, successfully prevented one of her clients, a survivor of human trafficking, from being criminalized as a prostitute. On September 12, 2014, the Women’s Law Center filed its first motion to vacate the prostitution convictions under the Maryland Human Trafficking Victim Protection Act.  Days later, the Honorable John Peter McKenna, Jr., District Administrative Judge for Anne Arundel County, vacated the survivor’s conviction and dismissed the charges against her. 

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Army Veteran and 2014 Fellow Tiffany Kelley Launches Major Initiative at the National Veterans Legal Services Program

October 3, 2014

Incoming 2014 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Tiffany Kelley, is bringing her expertise to the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) to advocate for veteran survivors of military sexual trauma (MST).  Tiffany is an Army veteran who has previously worked with wounded, injured, and ill service members while she was assigned to a Warrior Transition Unit.  NVLSP recently launched an initiative—made possible by Tiffany’s Fellowship—to address the needs of veterans who are MST survivors and need assistance in obtaining VA disability benefits.

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Alumna Kathryn Smolinski (’11) Leads Legal Advocacy Effort for Low-Income Cancer Patients in Detroit Area

October 1, 2014


2011 Equal Justice Works alumna, Kathryn Smolinski, is currently the director of the Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic at Wayne State University Law School. In this capacity, Kathryn oversees the clinic’s efforts in providing legal services, information, and education to low-income cancer patients living the Detroit metropolitan area. The clinic grew out of Kathryn’s two-year Fellowship project co-sponsored by Pfizer Inc, Jackson Lewis LLP, and Kaye Scholer LLP – a medical-legal partnership that helped ensure cancer patients received health insurance, public benefits, and end-of life planning counsel. 

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Gonzalo Serrano (’14) Returns to the Metroplex and Puts His Passion to Work

September 24, 2014

2014 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Gonzalo Serrano’s work advocating against wage theft among low-wage immigrants was profiled in the McKinney Courier-Gazette last Friday.  Gonzalo will be serving low-wage immigrant workers in the Dallas/Fort Worth region of Texas at the Equal Justice Center starting this fall.
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Marina Pantchenko (’13) Represents Medi-Cal Applicants in Lawsuit Against State of CA

September 23, 2014

Equal Justice Works Fellow Marina Pantchenko (’13), co-sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, is expanding health care access to indigent refugees in Alameda County, CA. Marina and the Bay Area Legal Aid (her host organization), along with several other legal aid groups, filed a suit against the state of California on behalf of individuals applying to the California Medical Assistance Program (Medi-Cal).

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2012 Equal Justice Works Fellow Ashley Grant Contributes to Report Highlighting Unique Needs of Over-age Middle Schoolers

September 17, 2014


With the support of sponsor Arnold & Porter LLP, Equal Justice Works Fellow  Ashley Grant (’12) is working at the Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) to close the justice gap of over-aged middle school students.  As part of her Fellowship project, Ashley contributed to a major AFC report, Sixteen Going on Seventh Grade: Over-Age Students in New York City Middle Schools

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2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow Michaela Wallin Helps Strike Law Targeting Domestic Violence Victims

September 16, 2014


Equal Justice Works Fellow Michaela Wallin (’13) who is currently serving domestic violence victims at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Women’s Rights Project, worked with a team of ACLU lawyers to strike down a law that targeted domestic violence victims for eviction.  Her fellowship is made possible by co-sponsors Morgan Stanley and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

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Hispanic Heritage Month: Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Practicing Service with the Law

September 11, 2014

Next week marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from September 15 -October 15.  Equal Justice Works honors the significant contributions of Hispanic Americans, including change makers such as Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Earlier this year, Justice Sotomayor gave remarks at Georgetown University’s Bernstein Symposium. Watch the video below to hear how her career path was influenced by establishing relationships, finding meaning in public service, and overcoming her fears.

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