Equal Justice Works Blog

David Stern Advocates for Public Service Loan Forgiveness in Response to New York Times Editorial

November 4, 2015

Equal Justice Works has joined the debate surrounding the "Law School Debt Crisis" Op-Ed in the New York Times on October 25th. Executive Director David Stern's response to the article was published on the Times' website on Monday.

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Rosenwald: Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You

August 21, 2015

It is with great pride that I invite you to check out a recently released documentary movie about my great grandfather, Julius Rosenwald.  If I may be so immodest, it is an inspiring story about the power of bold philanthropy.  I appear in the film, but I assure you that should not be the reason you should see the film. 

The movie was inspired by Julian Bond who gave a speech about Rosenwald’s philanthropy.  Julian is prominently featured in the film, which is particularly precious given that he passed away this past weekend.  Aviva Kempner, the filmmaker, has dedicated the film to Julian. 

Below is a brief summary of the film:

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KPMG and Alaina Varvaloucas (’14) Team Up to Enable Foster Youth

August 21, 2015

This is a guest blog post from Equal Justice Works Fellow Alaina Varvaloucas, sponsored by KPMG and Sidley Austin. Alaina is a Fellow at Lawyers for Children in New York City. Her project focuses on child custody matters involving domestic violence issues.

Once an adolescent in foster care in New York reaches age 21, or “ages out,” he or she is expected to live independently. These young adults face all of the challenges of adult life— housing, healthcare, employment, education, and food stability—but frequently without targeted services to help them make that transition or the economic and social support that other teenagers might receive. Without strong educational support, vocational training, access to adult mentors, and proper permanency planning, they risk discharge to unstable living arrangements and an uncertain future of homelessness, economic instability, or even incarceration. Financial planning skills, such as how to earn, save, spend and budget are crucial.

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July 20, 2015


CONTACTS: Annie Hughes

Annie Hughes, Interim Director of Marketing and Communicatio

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Special Report: The Justice Gap

July 1, 2015

Don't miss American Lawyer's thought-provoking read on the state of legal aid funding in America.  Equal Justice Works Executive Director David Stern is quoted in this special report.

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June 24, 2015



CONTACTS: Annie Hughes


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Virginia Corrigan (’13) Leads Successful Record Sealing Clinic for Contra Costa Youth

April 6, 2015

This is a guest blog post from Equal Justice Works’ Senior Manager of Pro Bono, Mia Sussman.

A colorful mural painted by students outside of the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, Calif. includes inspirational phrases such as “youth leadership” and “justice equality.” Young people in this community face various challenges, including convictions that may threaten future employment and other opportunities. On February 25, young people with criminal records came to RYSE, a center that builds youth power and leadership for diverse Contra Costa youth ages 13–21, in order to obtain assistance in getting their juvenile records sealed. 

The juvenile record sealing clinic was organized by 2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow Virginia Corrigan as part of her Equal Justice Works Fellowship. Virginia is spending her two-year Fellowship at the Youth Law Center in San Francisco, providing direct civil representation to incarcerated youth in Contra Costa County to protect their rights to education and health care. Virginia is also developing policy to ensure that California respects incarcerated youths’ civil rights.

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Fellow Friday: Bobby Borrelle (’13) Interrogates Race, Disability, and Discipline Practices to Ensure Equal Access to Education

April 3, 2015

This guest blog post was written by 2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow Robert (Bobby) J. Borrelle, Jr. He shares with us startling statistics about the roles of disability and race in the School-to-Prison Pipeline, and how he works to ensure that students in the Bay Area have access to quality education regardless of race or ability. Read about his innovative work, including the exciting and groundbreaking interim settlement agreement that he helped achieve along with colleagues at his host organization, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF).

Disability is rarely a topic in the national School-to-Prison Pipeline conversation. But the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education suggests that we cannot break the Pipeline without a disability lens. Students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to receive an out-of-school suspension (13 percent) than students without disabilities (6 percent). Students with disabilities represent a quarter of all students involved in a school-related arrest, even though they comprise just 12 percent of the overall student population.

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Equal Justice Works Fellows and Alumni Catch Up at Bay Area Happy Hour

March 2, 2015

Equal Justice Works hosted a happy hour for Fellows and alumni in the Bay Area this past Tuesday, Feb. 24. The event was held at Press Club, a wine bar in San Francisco’s gorgeous Yerba Buena district. Nestled in a swanky underground spot right off of Mission Street, the happy hour was an opportunity for about a dozen Fellows and alums to relax and share updates on their work.

Our Senior Manager of Pro Bono, Mia Sussman, was delighted to attend and catch up with both current and former Fellows. “It was a great event for reconnecting and networking,” she reported.

It was especially exciting to see current board member and program alumna Julia Wilson, who began her Fellowship back in 1999 when Equal Justice Works was the National Association for Public Interest Law. Julia’s lifelong commitment to public service is a testament to the power of our Fellows – and our Fellowship program. Nine years after her project began she was named as Executive Director of OneJustice, and her organization now hosts its own cadre of Fellows.

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Vanessa Stine (’14) Protects the Rights of Immigrants as Workers and Consumers

February 27, 2015

2014 Equal Justice Works Fellow Vanessa Stine is implementing her Fellowship project at Friends of Farmworkers in Philadelphia. She is providing direct representation, advocacy, and community education to immigrants affected by predatory and fraudulent legal assistance schemes – a major problem that had not been adequately addressed in Pennsylvania before she began her work. We caught up with Vanessa to learn about how she is empowering her clients through collaborative legal assistance. 

What are some of the legal needs of your current immigrant clients?

Low-wage immigrant workers are vulnerable to exploitation on a number of fronts – as workers and consumers. My Fellowship project provides legal assistance to low-wage immigrant consumers who have been victims of predatory and fraudulent immigration services in Pennsylvania.

Can you give some examples of what these fraudulent schemes look like?

Immigration services fraud can take many forms. Scammers may falsely represent themselves as attorneys, immigration agents, or immigration specialists. Fraudsters prey on vulnerable immigrants, who are desperate to legalize their status, by inaccurately advertising immigration relief. Scammers often file erroneous and incomplete applications, which can result in the separation of families as victims get swept up into deportation proceedings. These schemes can be financially devastating for low-wage workers who save for months, or even years, for immigration assistance. The workers struggle to feed their families and pay their bills, and they are often left without any savings – or in debt – after these scams.

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