Photo of Justin Small

Justin Small

  • Hosted by Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County
  • Sponsored by Lisa Foster and Alan Bersin
  • Service location Pacoima, California
  • Law school Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
  • Issue area Economic Justice, Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

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

Meet Other Fellows Like Justin

View All

Andrew Neuhauser

Host: Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.

Sponsor: Ohio Access to Justice Foundation

Sara Simon Tompkins

Host: National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

Sponsor: Individual Donors, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Vallen Solomon

Host: King County Bar Association's Housing Justice Project

Sponsor: Costco Wholesale, The Raikes Foundation

Current Fellow

Michael Deemer

Host: Ohio State Legal Services Association

Sponsor: Ohio Access to Justice Foundation