Photo of Carly Wasserman

Carly Wasserman

  • Hosted by National Center for Youth Law
  • Sponsored by Lisa Foster and Alan Bersin
  • Service location Oakland, California
  • Law school University of Virginia School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Criminal Justice Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Carly (she/her/hers) will provide systemic and individual legal advocacy to ensure that children and youth do not receive fines and fees as a result of school referrals to municipal and other local courts.

Nationally, schools refer students to municipal and other local courts for alleged violations of ordinances such as truancy, disorderly conduct, or disruption of school. These courts assess fines and fees that criminalize poverty and substantially harm students by burdening them with debt and collateral consequences; these burdens fall heaviest on Black and Brown families. In light of the devastating impact of the coronavirus epidemic, youth will be even more vulnerable to school-based charges, and families will have even less ability to pay. Little attention has been paid to these fines and fees for students; without public oversight and systemic reforms, courts will continue to issue these fines and fees.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Carly will investigate the use of municipal and other local court fines and fees against youth and publicize information about how they impact youth in multiple jurisdictions. She will also provide direct representation to students facing these fines and create advocacy guides to support attorneys wanting to help youth in these proceedings. Additionally, she will work with local partners and impacted students and families to increase community awareness, design campaigns to end the imposition of fines and fees for school-based behavior, and, when appropriate, develop impact litigation.


Equal Justice Works Fellow To Represent Youths Facing Court Fines

As a former teacher, I am inspired by the incredible potential of all youth. I decided to become a lawyer because I know too many youth are stifled by the legal and economic consequences of the school-to-prison pipeline.

Carly Wasserman /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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