Michael J. Harding is a first-year law student at Villanova University where he is also a Public Interest Scholar. A native of Philadelphia, PA, his service and scholarship have taken him abroad to nearly 20 countries, including places such as Spain, Ghana, and Tanzania. He is fluent in Spanish and as a Fulbright Scholar, conducted research on the challenges of achieving transitional justice and social healing after overcoming political injustice in Santiago, Chile.
Mr. Harding has worked with Justice at Work and The Public Interest Law Center, two Philadelphia-based public interest non-profit organizations. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, he led efforts to assist low-wage, Spanish-speaking clients apply for and receive emergency housing assistance during the unprecedented public health and financial crisis. Additionally, he supported civil litigation and casework by completing client interviews and substantive legal projects in the areas of immigration, housing, and environmental justice. As a clerk this summer at Terris, Pravlik, & Millian, LLP – a small DC-based public interest law firm – Mr. Harding will contribute to its civil rights and federal environmental litigation.
Since July 2020, Mr. Harding has served as chair on the National Advisory Committee of Equal Justice Works representing the Mid-Atlantic region. He also participates in The Appellate Project’s mentorship program, which enables black and brown law students to meaningfully engage with and learn from appellate practitioners about effective advocacy in our nation’s highest courts.
Mr. Harding is guided by the belief that lawyers can be stewards of democracy by harnessing the law’s potential for goodness to ensure our lived experiences – especially those of us pushed to society’s margins – are more fair and fruitful. As an aspiring public interest lawyer and policymaker, he aims to leverage law and policy as tools for a lifetime of work committed to social and environmental justice.
Mr. Harding graduated summa cum laude from Fairfield University in 2018, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Politics.