Eliza Finley

  • Hosted by Public Counsel
  • Sponsored by Edison International, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
  • Service location Los Angeles, California
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Education/Special Education, Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2015
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Eliza improved student outcomes through a unique school-legal partnership in East Hollywood that will provide legal services in education, housing, and public benefits to students and their families

Students from the high-poverty neighborhood of East Hollywood face problems outside the classroom that affect their ability to thrive in school. The East Hollywood Promise Zone has partnered with local schools to address these problems by providing wraparound services, but the provision of legal services has been very limited to date. Legal issues, such as poor housing conditions, tenuous immigration status, or financial instability, cause chronic stress and impair school performance. These problems are further compounded by harsh discipline policies that push at-risk students out of school. Students living in poverty also often struggle to obtain the academic services they are entitled to, such as accommodations for disabilities and English learner instructional services. This project targets these barriers by providing a full range of legal services and legal education to students and their caregivers through the Promise Zone initiative.

Fellowship Highlights

During Eliza’s Fellowship, Eliza:

  • Raised awareness of the legal clinic among students and their caregivers
  • Began intakes, screenings, and direct representation in school discipline and special education proceedings
  • Fostered client referrals by networking with community leaders and organizers, teachers, administrators, Promise Neighborhood staff, and other social service providers
  • Reached out to potential pro bono partners, including her sponsors, for referrals
  • Began workshops and trainings to clients and community partners

Meet Other Fellows Like Eliza

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Katara J. Jordan

Host: Columbia Legal Services

Sponsor: Intellectual Ventures, Perkins Coie LLP

Alexis Piazza

Host: American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California

Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Ashley Richardson

Host: Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati

Sponsor: Ohio Access to Justice Foundation

Andrew Neuhauser

Host: Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.

Sponsor: Ohio Access to Justice Foundation