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Headshot of Elissa Gray

Elissa Gray

  • Hosted by Family Violence Appellate Project
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP, The Clorox Company Foundation
  • Service location Oakland, California
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Issue area Domestic Violence, Pro se and other legal representation systems
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Elissa (she/her/hers) will increase access to writ review for low-income domestic violence survivors facing harmful orders that lack adequate remedies through direct representation, resource development, and community partnerships.

Survivors of domestic violence use the civil court system to request legal orders (such as writ petitions) that can improve their safety and security. However, when reviewing these requests, judges can misunderstand the law, choose to misapply the law, or fall prey to biases. This leaves survivors to deal with the effects of dangerous legal decisions and a lack of protection. Survivors need appellate level intervention to challenge harmful orders—and they often need it immediately, as they are unable to wait years for a direct appeal. Therefore, the necessary remedy is a writ petition, but writ review for domestic violence survivors is an underdeveloped area of law and largely inaccessible.

Elissa’s personal and professional experience with survivor advocacy motivates her to ensure survivors have meaningful choices through the law.

Fellowship Plans

Elissa will advocate for the improved safety and well-being of domestic violence survivors by making writs an alternative and more feasible appellate remedy. Elissa will design a screening, assessment, and direct representation framework for writ cases, expanding on the Family Violence Appellate Project’s successful model for direct appeals. She will then use that framework and her case outcomes to develop and distribute external resources to advocates and survivors across California. At every stage, Elissa will collaborate with community partners to ensure the effectiveness and accessibility of her project.


Greenberg Traurig Sponsors Record 201st Equal Justice Works Fellow

I grew up supporting survivors because they are my family, my friends, and my loved ones. This project allows me to continue that advocacy by developing tools and offering support for survivors to empower themselves in the legal system.

Elissa Gray /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Elissa

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Photo of Rachel Lieb

Rachel Lieb

Host: New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)

Sponsor: Baker McKenzie, Merck & Co., Inc.

Photo of Emma Singer

Emma Singer

Host: Greater Boston Legal Services

Sponsor: General Electric Company, King & Spalding LLP

Photo of Rachel White-Domain

Rachel White-Domain

Host: Illinois Prison Project

Sponsor: Albert & Anne Mansfield Foundation

Katherine Ziomek

Host: Battered Women’s Justice Project

Sponsor: Medtronic, Robins Kaplan LLP

Current Fellow