Equal Justice Works Blog

Fellow Friday: Samantha Rumsey to Lead Greenberg Traurig Pro Bono Signature Initiative

May 8, 2014

Last month, international law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP announced that Equal Justice Works Fellow Samantha Rumsey will lead the firm’s newly-launched signature pro bono initiative to provide free legal assistance to immigrant children facing deportation.  Samantha’s full-time, two-year fellowship will allow her to focus her talent and commitment on the important work of advocating for unaccompanied minor immigrants, a vulnerable and growing population in need of immediate legal help and advocacy. Under Samantha’s focused leadership, the project will take advantage of the Greenberg Traurig’s breadth and resources in order to effect major, lasting change for children who deserve a better life.

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AmeriCorps Awards Equal Justice Works with Grant to fund Employment Opportunity Legal Corps

May 7, 2014
AmeriCorps has awarded Equal Justice Works a grant to fund the Employment Opportunity Legal Corps, which will be the largest single deployment of 40 lawyers and about 100 law students to work on removing barriers to employment. This issue disproportionately affects African American males, half of whom are arrested at least once before the age of 23, compared to 40% of white males. Forty states currently allow for the removal of minor infractions from public records, but legal assistance is required to do so. 

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Guest Blog: Graham Bowman Expands Health Care Rights to Chicago Homeless Youth

May 2, 2014

This is a guest blog post from 2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow Graham Bowman, sponsored by Pfizer, Inc. and Jackson Lewis P.C.  He is currently working to ensure that homeless youth have access to health care services at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.  Below he highlights a few of his accomplishments and illustrates how he has impacted the Chicago community.

“Where did you spend the night when the temperature was well below zero?”

This was the question that I tend to ask, when coming across individuals like my recent client, who had no home and was stuck outside in freezing temperatures.  My client was grappling with severe injuries, surviving on the streets of the windy city of Chicago that night.  The homeless youth had not received treatment of any kind and was not even taking basic medication to deal with the extreme injuries caused by the cold, which were at risk of infection.  My client desperately needed antibiotics and pain medication immediately.

Left: Equal Justice Works Fellow Graham Bowman (’13) and Emily Werger, Drop-in Coordinator for Casa Corazone at La Casa Norte, one of the legal clinics sites in Chicago, IL.

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Fellow Friday: AmeriCorps Legal Fellow Antoinette Balta (’12) Provides Access to Justice for Veterans

April 25, 2014

2012 AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, Antoinette Nadour Balta, is currently a staff attorney at the Public Law Center (PLC) in Santa Ana, California.  At PLC, she led the design and implementation of the PLC Veterans Project known as Operation Veterans Re-Entry.  Within Orange County, there are few legal resources for veterans, making PLC’s work essential to help veterans within the area.

Watch this inspirational PLC video, showcasing how Antoinette successfully acquired housing and employment for Patrick, a formerly evicted Veteran, and helped him regain possession of his red beret.

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Fellow Friday: Amelia Ruiz Fischer (’12) Takes a Stand for Immigrants’ Rights

April 18, 2014

Equal Justice Works 2012 Fellow, Amelia Ruiz Fischer, who is sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP, works at the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP).  At TCRP, Amelia is a civil rights attorney, advocate and organizer for immigrants in Austin and throughout Travis County of Texas.  Her Fellowship allows her to lead a county wide campaign with TCRP and other partner organizations to reduce deportations by ending local law enforcement's cooperation with immigration enforcement agents. 

 Above: 2012 Equal Justice Works Fellow Amelia Ruiz Fischer spoke to community members during the Travis County Commissioner Candidates’ Forum, at the Faith Presbyterian Church on February 22, 2014.

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Fellow Friday: Environmental Justice in the Appalachians - Mike Becher (’10) Combats Coal Industry

April 11, 2014

Mike Becher
is a 2010 Equal Justice Works Fellow. His project was funded by Friends and Family of Philip M. Stern.  As a Fellow, Mike advocated on behalf of low-income communities impacted by the coal mining industry at the Appalachian Mountain Advocates in Lewisburg, West Virginia.  After completing his fellowship in 2012, Mike continued his commitment to environmental justice as an Appalachian Mountain Advocates staff attorney.  Equal Justice Works profiled Mike in 2012 and recently caught up with him to learn more about his legal aid work.

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Fellow Friday: AmeriCorps Legal Fellow Alissa Gold (’13) Promotes Medical-Legal Partnership for Veterans

April 4, 2014

2013 AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, Alissa Gold, is working with the University of Miami Health Rights Clinic to implement a medical-legal partnership for low-income and homeless Veterans. Since she began her Fellowship last fall, Alissa has already helped an unemployed, retired Veteran secure a civilian job. Watch Alissa’s special message on the importance of giving back to our nation’s heroes:

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Fellow Friday: AmeriCorps Legal Fellow Jennifer Aronson (’13) Serves Our Nation’s Veterans

March 28, 2014

2013 AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, Jennifer Aronson, is advocating for Veterans at the Legal Assistance of Western New York.  Learn how Jennifer has made a difference in the life of a homeless, Vietnam War Veteran who has cancer:


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Fellow Friday: From Apathy to Empathy - Daniel Bowes Gives Thanks

March 21, 2014

“A person is more than the worst thing they’ve ever done.” Those words, spoken by Professor Bryan Stephenson at New York University (NYU), served as the inspiration for former 2011 Equal Justice Works Fellow Daniel Bowes to pursue a public interest law career.       

From his classroom discussions to his clinical work focusing on the collateral consequences of criminal convictions, he found himself filled with compassion and determination to bridge the justice gap for individuals saddled with a criminal history. Daniel did not always feel as sympathetic toward this community, however.  “For a long period in my life, I viewed people with criminal convictions as permanently soiled.  I viewed a criminal conviction not as a singular incident but as evidence of someone’s hidden, corrupted self,” he said.

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Future Public Interest Lawyers: How to Pick Your Law School

March 20, 2014

The National Law Journal recently released its list of “Go-To” law schools – the top 50 law schools by the percentage of 2013 law school graduates who took jobs at the 250 largest law firms. But at Equal Justice Works, we know that not everyone goes to law school to get a big firm job. Many go to help ensure everyone has access to justice, even if they can’t afford a lawyer. 

We don’t rank schools –your commitment to public interest will drive your success wherever you go to school. But there are some resources to help guide you down the path of public interest law:

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