Natalie (she/her/hers) will reduce youth entanglement in the criminal justice system by providing tools for self-advocacy, empowering system-involved youth, and ensuring pro bono access to reduce barriers.
The project fills gaps in the juvenile justice legal services and resource network in Oregon and creates ongoing supports to benefit youth. Identified by youth who have interacted with the criminal justice system and a recent National Juvenile Defender Center report, these gaps make youth, particularly BIPOC youth, especially vulnerable to more severe consequences resulting from juvenile convictions. The project will reach into Oregon’s 197 school districts, out to the 500 youth incarcerated in Oregon, and to hundreds of acutely impacted youth facing collateral consequences statewide to improve outcomes and provide much needed legal support.
During her Fellowship, Natalie will use a targeted approach to reach youth at different stages of entanglement with the system. She will develop a Know Your Rights app relevant to teen issues, create a pro bono network of attorneys to provide civil legal aid to youth who are incarcerated, and travel the state providing representation and support for tackling collateral consequences like expungement, barriers to housing and education, and fine reduction.
I have witnessed the school-to-prison pipeline from nearly every angle as a teenager myself, a public school educator, and now as a law student gaining clinical experience working with youth who are incarcerated. I am passionate about ensuring youth don’t interact with the system and, for those that do, making sure it does not impact the rest of their life.
Natalie Hollabaugh /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow
My project establishes Consumer Right Centers located in colonias–extremely low-income, unincorporated rural neighborhoods along the Texas-Mexico border. These centers distribute and gather consumer information, train people to teach their neighbors about how to navigate financial institutions, and inform impact litigation based on community priorities. The goal of the centers is to be a hub of community activism that locally work to change the options available to consumers and improve their financial condition.
At APALC I will work to provide the Asian Pacific Islander American (API) community in Orange County with multilingual, culturally sensitive legal services. I will be providing direct legal services in immigration, family and housing law cases, to clients through intakes, clinics and other client contact. I will also recruit, train and manage interns, volunteers and pro bono attorneys to increase public legal services available in Orange County. I will also work with community–based organizations to address legal needs expressed in the community.
Stephanie provided outreach, legal education, and direct legal services to help low-income New Orleans residents overcome title problems that prevent them from accessing hurricane rebuilding funds and other assistance programs.
In low-income Louisiana communities it is traditional for families to pass property down informally, often for generations, without ever clearing title to the property. This practice leaves the occupants without the ability to prove they own the property, meaning they are unable to sell, encumber, or insure the property. These problems became particularly acute after Hurricane Katrina, when victims living in “heir property” were unable to access disaster recovery funds and repair their homes. Clearing title to these properties allows home-owners to access funding for potential disasters and makes the community more resilient in the face of future disasters.
During her Fellowship, Stephanie:
- Cleared title to 104 homes
- Put 284 people in possession of their homes
- Achieved an economic benefit of more than $2 million for low-income homeowners
- Reached out to more than 600 community members about the importance of maintaining clear title to their homes
- Collaborated with other organizations and pro bono attorneys to assist the Isle de Jean Charles Native American tribe obtain clear title to its land, which will allow the tribe to access grants to relocate from its native lands that are quickly becoming submerged as a result of rising sea level and wetland loss
Stephanie works as a staff attorney at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, focusing on title clearing, foreclosure and tax law.
As lawyers, we have the exclusive power to navigate the system that governs our society. It is a privilege to be able to give that power to those who cannot access it by other means.
Megan A. Kent coordinated the Justice Bus Project in Southern California. The project takes teams of attorney and law student volunteers from urban areas to set up free legal clinics for low-income Californians living in rural and isolated communities. These clinics provide life-changing legal assistance to under-served populations. The Justice Bus Project brings together diverse stakeholders in order to fill the justice gap in rural California communities: we provide local, rural non-profit service providers with the resources to serve a large number of clients at once, and we provide law schools, law firms, and in-house legal departments with quality pro bono service opportunities.