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Alyssa Rao

  • Hosted by Greater Boston Legal Services
  • Sponsored by The Morrison & Foerster Foundation
  • Service location Boston, Massachusetts
  • Law school Boston College Law School
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Domestic Violence
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Alyssa (she/her/hers) advocated on behalf of survivors of domestic violence by representing them in the early stages of their family regulation cases.  She also represented survivors in their related Probate and Family Court and District Court matters.

In Massachusetts, low-income survivors of domestic violence, many of whom are people of color, are not guaranteed representation in this early stage of a family regulation case, putting their rights to their children at risk. Alyssa’s project addressed this need by providing early, prophylactic representation to survivors of domestic violence embroiled in the family regulation system to protect their rights and to prevent further exacerbation of trauma and poverty.

Alyssa was inspired by the survivors that she has worked with and was driven by a firm belief in keeping families together to prevent further poverty and trauma.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Alyssa:

  • Provided full representation 15 clients with involvement with the Department of Children (DCF) and Families and the Probate and Family Court
  • Represented one client in appeal of DCF finding of neglect and successfully overturned that finding
  • Presented pre-petition representation at the Massachusetts Bar Foundation’s Juvenile and Child Welfare Conference
  • Met with directly impacted community leaders to discuss “Know Your Rights” trainings
  • Researched DCF policies and regulations to identify potential opportunities for high-impact litigation
  • Developed a “Know Your Rights” curriculum for families involved with DCF and presented to directly impacted individuals and community organizations


Morrison & Foerster Partners With Equal Justice Works To Support Recent Law School Graduates With A Passion For Public Service

Alyssa Rao Wins Prestigious Equal Justice Works Fellowship

The survivors of domestic violence that I work with are incredibly devoted to their families and their children. I try to match that passion in protecting survivors’ rights and keeping their families together.

Alyssa Rao /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Alyssa

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Mary Kate Kalinich

Host: Women Against Abuse

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

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Alaina Varvaloucas

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Sponsor: KPMG LLP, The Sidley Austin Foundation

Aarti Sharma

Host: Fulton County CASA

Sponsor: FordHarrison LLP

Laila Hlass

Host: Loyola Law Clinic

Sponsor: Anonymous