Equal Justice Works alumna Michele Johnson (’96) is currently the executive director and co-founder of the Tennessee Justice Center, which she launched during her Equal Justice Works Fellowship in 1996. With 20 years of advocating for children with special health care needs under her belt, she also brings her experiences into the classroom as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University.
Equal Justice Works Blog
Thank you to this year’s phenomenal Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair keynote speaker, Bryan Stevenson, who delivered a address on the criminal justice system in the United States. Stevenson is the Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and currently a professor at New York University Law School. He shared with aspiring public interest lawyers his personal experiences that shaped how he used the law to address social injustices throughout his career. The event was part of Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption book tour, which kicked off on Tuesday, October, 21, 2014. Click here to purchase his newly-released book.
Below is a guest blog post from 2011 Equal Justice Works alumna, Adriana G. Rodriguez. Her Fellowship at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Laredo, Texas was sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation. Most recently, she was recognized as the Domestic Violence Advocate of the Year by the City of Laredo and Webb County in Texas. Read how Adriana has empowered undocumented survivors of domestic violence along the U.S.-Mexico border to fight for their safety.
I returned home to Laredo, Texas as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in 2011. After learning about the prevalence of domestic violence and its long-term effects on families in the area, I wanted to empower survivors of domestic violence to seek and secure the protection they deserve. My experiences taught me that empowering mothers is the best way to improve outcomes for children. Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) has a longstanding commitment to assisting survivors of domestic violence across South Texas. I wanted to replicate this success in Laredo, where I knew indigent survivors could not easily access civil legal services.
We recently caught up with 2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow Emily Schools at the 2014 Equal Justice Works Leadership Development Training. She shared how her Fellowship experiences have personally empowered her to provide legal aid in the field. Emily is currently at Legal Aid of Northwest Texas and is sponsored by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. Watch the video below:
Equal Justice Works is proud to announce the launch of a new initiative – part 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.