Milo Vieland

The Project

Milo’s (he/him/his) project will provide holistic legal representation to low-income transgender clients in Chicago facing insurance coverage denials for transition-related medical care.

Transgender people face significant barriers to obtaining transition-related healthcare. Despite the overwhelming consensus of medical associations and clinicians that transition-related healthcare is effective, medically necessary, and often life-saving, transgender patients must navigate a complex and ever-changing array of health insurance policies to obtain coverage for surgery, while simultaneously attempting to update their names and gender markers on identification documents. Furthermore, the poverty rate for transgender people is 29%, twice that of the general population. Lack of economic security compounds issues of access to medical care for low-income transgender people, who also face barriers to public assistance access. Without comprehensive legal assistance across these issues, many transgender people are barred from essential medical care, economic security, and full civic participation.

Milo’s experiences fighting for his own and others’ healthcare have shown him the power of legal advocacy to create meaningful change in people’s lives.

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Milo will utilize the medical-legal partnership between Legal Council for Health Justice and Howard Brown Health to provide holistic legal services to transgender clients. He will represent clients facing insurance denials for transition-related healthcare. He will offer legal assistance with the processes of name and gender marker changes on vital records. Additionally, he will advocate for clients’ economic security by providing comprehensive legal assistance with public benefits.

Media

Four Northeastern Law Students Awarded Equal Justice Works Fellowships

Trans people are in the practice of relying on each other for access to medical care and other resources. This project is an extension of that mutual support.

Milo Vieland /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

KB’s (she/they) project will focus on increasing access to occupational licenses for low-income New Yorkers with arrest and conviction records through direct representation, community outreach, and policy advocacy.

For decades, many of the 2.3 million New Yorkers living with a criminal record have been routinely denied licensure, discouraged from the application process, or had their licenses revoked. New York law provides some protection to people with criminal records facing denials, including the requirement that licensing agencies evaluate mitigating factors such as a person’s age at the time of their offense. In practice, however, the statutory process means that people undergo lengthy investigations to prove their “good moral character” through “evidence of rehabilitation,” personal interviews, and testimony in formal hearings– often without the aid of counsel.

KB will continue her near decade-long commitment to reentry work in partnership with impacted people and community stakeholders.

Fellowship Plans

During their Fellowship, KB will represent clients facing licensure denials and revocation and litigate discriminatory employer practices on behalf of license holders with criminal records. She will directly engage with New Yorkers who wish to enter one of New York’s 100+ licensed occupations to dispel myths and misinformation that discourage people with criminal records from pursuing licensed employment available to them. Additionally, KB will develop training materials to help pro bono legal and social service providers build expertise in this area and handle incoming cases. In doing so, KB seeks to lessen disparities for workers of color overrepresented in low-wage work, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and promote fair access to licensure so that all workers may find more stable and safer jobs.

Media

Two New Grads Named Equal Justice Works Fellows

This project aims to shine a light on the unnecessary conviction barriers embedded in New York’s occupational licensing laws and help promote the economic security of all New Yorkers living with a criminal record.

KB White /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Joe (he/him/his) works to expand access to legal education, direct representation, and policy advocacy for working parents who face wage theft and other unlawful conditions in the workplace.

Immigrant parents and caregivers who work in low-wage industries in Los Angeles experience the highest employment violation rates in the country. Working parents and caregivers can use legal education and representation to combat their exploitation and ensure economic security for their children. A lack of representation dramatically increases the risk that parents will be fired for objecting to illegal workplace conditions. Further, undocumented parents cannot access social safety net programs and face fear of immigration-related retaliation that can cause family separation. The resulting systemic wage-theft and employment instability increases the negative academic, behavioral, and social outcomes for children of working parents.

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Joe will establish a new partnership between Bet Tzedek Legal Services’ Employment Rights Project and Community Coalition (CoCo), a leading community organizing hub in South Central Los Angeles that offers youth and family enrichment programs. Joe will create a custom-tailored employment rights outreach, education, clinical, and direct representation program for parents and caregivers of children enrolled in CoCo’s youth programs. Joe will use the successes of the project to support community-driven policy advocacy efforts and develop a guide that other legal services providers and youth programs can use to broaden access to employment rights legal services for working parents.

Lawyering for community empowerment demands a practice without walls. As the great-grandchild of immigrants who sweated in garment factories to provide for their children, I am committed to meeting immigrant parents and caregivers wherever and whenever they need so we can work together toward economic security—now and for generations to come.

Joe Philipson /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Andrew (he/him/his) will utilize legal services alongside robust community outreach programs at the Legal Aid Society to secure and preserve public benefits for low-income individuals and families in Louisville, Kentucky.

Our nation’s social safety net represents an absolutely vital lifeline for ensuring that the basic needs of families and individuals are met and, moreover, that the long-term social mobility necessary to escape extreme poverty can be facilitated. However, a decades-old political agenda of ruthless welfare austerity predicated upon class oppression and the often explicitly racist distinctions between the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor have resulted in a system that brutally shames and materially harms our society’s most vulnerable citizens. Louisville is no exception, and our community deserves comprehensive guidance and representation to ensure that every economically distressed person receives the benefits they need.

Every food stamp denial, every failure to provide medical coverage, every refusal to fulfill the promise of our social safety net represents another deadly arrow fired from the cruel structure of policy violence afflicting our low-income communities. Because material relief and access to justice are often far out of reach for these communities, Andrew feels called to join the Legal Aid Society in providing aid. He hopes to facilitate economic mobility through public benefits advocacy and thereby help to alleviate the suffering administered against the often-hidden wards of our city where generational poverty remains a brutally anchored reality.

Fellowship Plans

Andrew will help low-income families secure food benefits and connect Louisville’s unhoused population with steady financial lifelines via Social Security and related programs. This Fellowship will also maintain an open channel with the expungement arm of the Legal Aid Society to assist individuals who were previously ineligible for public benefits as a collateral consequence of a criminal conviction.

Media

Recent graduate receives Equal Justice Works Fellowship

As a native of Louisville, Kentucky, with a single-minded interest in public service, I bear a natural connection to the community and a deep sense of moral urgency towards improving the material economic conditions of our city’s most vulnerable residents.

Andrew Chandler /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Miles’ (he/him/his) project focuses on minimizing the crippling effects of heirs’ property on intergenerational wealth building in Middle Tennessee’s Black communities through free estate planning services, representation in partition litigation, and community education.

Miles’s project uses estate planning to help narrow the Black-white wealth gap in Middle Tennessee. Homeownership is the primary method of wealth-building in the United States, but Black Americans own homes at lower rates than other racial groups, and their homes are disproportionately held in heirs’ property. Heirs’ property is a form of joint ownership created when property owners die without an estate plan, which minimizes the owners’ home equity and makes their property vulnerable to a forced sale. Miles’s project will help community members prevent heirs’ property, maximize equity, and advocate for procedural rights in actions to force sale.

Miles was raised in Sumner County, Tennessee where many of his neighbors and family members own heirs’ property. His firsthand familiarity with the vulnerabilities of heirs’ property ownership has motivated him to pursue community-based legal work to minimize its harmful effects on families’ capacity to build intergenerational wealth.

Fellowship Plans

To promote understanding of how heirs’ property ownership diminishes wealth, Miles will conduct community education clinics throughout Middle Tennessee’s Black communities. By providing free estate planning services to (non-heirs) property owners, Miles will also help prevent the promulgation of heirs’ property and help Black property owners begin a legacy of estate planning in their families. For families that own heirs’ property, Miles will facilitate succession plans and advocate for robust procedural rights during partition litigation.

Media

Miles Malbrough ’22 To Address Estate Planning in Nashville’s Black Community as Equal Justice Works Fellow

The racial wealth gap undergirds countless racial inequities in the United States. I am thrilled at the opportunity to help Black communities build wealth through better access to legal services.

Miles Malbrough /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Asiyahola (he/him/his) will combat transportation enforcement practices that harm Black, Brown, and low-income people, by providing legal support and advocacy for alternatives to keep all Los Angeles County communities safe and mobile.

Travel on our transportation systems—roads, bridges, sidewalks, and public transit—is the most policed activity of everyday life. Each day, Black, Brown, and unhoused residents of Los Angeles County must decide between risking fines, fees, and traumatizing police encounters to reach their destination or avoiding their trip and facing the consequences. Further, adjudication of transportation-related penalties often occurs outside formal criminal court, without counsel, in privatized citation processes or kangaroo courts where the citing agency is prosecutor, judge, and jury. Yet the penalties are severe: spiraling debt, lost licenses, lost vehicles. There is currently great need for legal support for people facing this system and great opportunity to work with communities leading the charge to change it.

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Asiyahola will provide direct representation and legal services, including Know Your Rights trainings, to individuals facing transportation-related fines and fees. He will partner with directly impacted individuals, community coalitions, and labor unions to expand and institutionalize community-centered safety supports on transportation systems. He will also develop a policy report on reinvesting savings gained from discontinuing discriminatory transportation enforcement into alternative transit safety resources.

Ending punitive police practices makes financial sense, says ‘we hear you’ to the families of people killed by police, and allows us to truly reimagine safety on transportation systems by creating millions in savings to invest in alternatives.

Asiyahola Sankara /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Justin (he/him/his) advocates on behalf of unhoused and justice-involved individuals in the Antelope Valley in tickets cases for “quality of life” offenses that criminalize homelessness.

The Antelope Valley is a remote desert community at the northeastern border of Los Angeles County and has seen explosive growth in its unhoused population since the onset of the pandemic. Aside from the dangerous weather conditions, the unhoused are subjected to discriminatory policing practices. By citing unhoused individuals for life-sustaining activities such as eating, sleeping, or merely sitting on the sidewalk, law enforcement agencies are effectively criminalizing being unhoused. Because there is no right to counsel in these cases, 9/10 ticket cases in California are litigated without representation. The fines and fees associated with these tickets can pose severe hardship to this population, and the use of fines and fees to police the unhoused distorts justice.

Justin’s work in the Antelope Valley before attending law school motivates his commitment to serving this community and advancing economic justice.

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Justin will represent Antelope Valley residents in ticket and citation cases and host ticket clinics to educate and assist with court-debt clearing strategies. He will also provide criminal record clearing relief services for eligible clients to assist clients in mitigating barriers to housing and employment.

Coming from a rural state like Vermont, I have seen firsthand the impact of legal-aid deserts. I’m passionate about serving the Antelope Valley and assisting the community to mitigate the hardships of court debt.

Justin Small /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Sarah (she/her/hers) provides legal services to people with conviction records who have been denied employment opportunities and works to develop fair, objective criteria for assessing job applicants’ conviction history.

In California, there are 8 million people with a criminal conviction. Thousands of people across the state have lost their jobs or occupational licenses due to their conviction or have been rejected from potential employment because of their criminal record. In 2017, California enacted The Fair Chance Act (FCA), which prohibits employers of more than five employees from asking about an applicant’s conviction history on job applications. Sarah’s project will enforce the FCA and strengthen its application through scalable and research-based criteria for employers making individualized assessments.

Fellowship Plans

Sarah will represent individuals with FCA violation claims in administrative hearings and state court. In collaboration with her clients, other directly impacted people, researchers in the field, and experts in employment law, Sarah will develop metrics for evaluating a job applicant’s conviction record. She will advocate for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to adopt regulations using these metrics, aiming to have a statewide impact in effectively implementing this law.

By strengthening and enforcing the requirements of the Fair Chance Act, California has the opportunity to meaningfully disrupt cycles of recidivism, shrink the size of our carceral system, and serve as a model for ban-the-box laws in other states.

Sarah True /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Susan (she/her/hers) will advance economic justice for Minnesotans with disabilities by representing workers who receive subminimum wages and advocating for policies to implement the phase-out of the subminimum wage statewide.

Federal law authorizes certified employers to pay a subminimum wage to workers with disabilities. Most people receiving subminimum wages are employed in segregated settings and receive less than $4 an hour. Newly enacted legislation in Minnesota will phase out the subminimum wage for people with disabilities in the state by August 1, 2025. An estimated 10,000 Minnesotans with disabilities receive a subminimum wage; over the next three years, these workers will transition to integrated employment with fair wages.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Susan will represent workers with disabilities in cases concerning wage and hour violations and disability rights. Her work will focus on supporting workers in their transition to employment in integrated community settings with competitive wages. In addition to direct legal services, she will leverage the monitoring authority of the Protection and Advocacy System to ensure that employment providers are sufficiently working to transition workers with disabilities to employment opportunities with fair wages. Susan will also conduct community outreach and serve on a statewide task force to make recommendations to implement the phase-out of the subminimum wage in Minnesota.

My brother has intellectual disabilities and his experience with the disability services system catalyzed my commitment to advancing equity and integration in access to services and opportunities for all people with disabilities.

Susan Fleurant /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Joseph’s (he/him/his) project will provide legal representation, community education, and outreach to domestic home healthcare workers in Chicago to enforce their rights under the new Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

Illinois is home to roughly 85,000 domestic workers, roughly 47,000 of whom are home healthcare workers. Most are women, people of color, and immigrants. They play an important role in caring for older adults and people with disabilities in their homes, but they are also three times more likely than other workers to live in poverty. Joseph’s project will educate domestic workers about their employment-related rights and provide direct legal representation to address discrimination, wage theft, retaliation, and harassment.

Joseph has made workers’ rights and economic justice the central motivator of his law school career. He understands the unfair and enormous burden placed on individuals with limited proficiency in English to access justice. He believes that creating a more equitable, worker-centered approach in the workplace will lead to greater economic security for individuals in low-income, immigrant communities.

Fellowship Plans

Joseph will work with community partners in Chicago to strengthen enforcement of the new Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights by identifying violations. His project will develop multi-lingual and literacy-appropriate know-your-rights materials and host community events to disseminate information about the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. He will also pursue enforcement of the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights with city and state agencies to address discrimination, wage theft, retaliation, and harassment.

My Equal Justice Works Fellowship has afforded me the opportunity to serve low-wage workers, particularly domestic workers in Chicago. I’m proud to fight for a more just workplace free of discrimination, wage theft, harassment, and retaliation.

Joseph Garcia /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow