Marissa Mowery

The Project

Human trafficking is a significant problem in L.A. County, where hard-to-reach survivors require multiple service access options in order to overcome barriers to help. Immigrant survivors of trafficking are particularly vulnerable due to cultural misunderstandings, language barriers, and their legal status in the U.S. The legal aid sector is overwhelmed by a need for immigration legal services generally, and particularly for immigrant survivors of crime such as trafficking. This Fellowship helped address the intersection of the needs of immigrants and trafficking survivors. 

Marissa provided free, culturally-responsive, and language-accessible legal services to immigrant survivors of human trafficking. This was done through advice, direct legal representation, supportive services, and/or outreach/education. 

Marissa has extensive experience both providing direct services to immigrant survivors of crime and conducting trainings and community outreach on immigration law and policy. She has been trained to provide trauma-informed services to both adults and children, and on cultural competency issues. Furthermore, she is passionate about defending the one without a defender. 

The Inspiration

The Project

The Veterans Law Clinic provides legal advocacy and representation to low-income and/or disabled military veterans and their families in the Delaware and Pennsylvania areas who are seeking benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to direct representation and advice for compensation claims, we are organizing and participating in community outreach to better understand the needs of veterans in our area and expanding the legal services we provide.

The Inspiration

Why is this Project Important

My interest in veteran affairs has developed over a long period of time. My mother has worked for the VA hospital for 40 years, my sister worked as a registered nurse at the VA hospital, and some of my close friends and extended family members have served overseas. The experiences they have shared, paired with my legal education and previous experience as a student intern in the Veterans Law Clinic, have left a lasting impression on me and a heightened interest in this area of law.

The Project

The Project’s primary goals are to (1) provide direct representation to veterans with appeals regarding the denial of compensation claims (especially claims involving post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma and other mental health issues) and to veterans who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless with issues including overpayments from the VA, problems with health and disability benefits, consumer and medical debt, drivers’ license reinstatement, and discharge upgrades for veterans with a general discharge; and (2) work with community partner agencies and case management staff at the Veterans’ Centers, VA hospitals, and clinics to further meet veterans’ needs.

The Inspiration

Why is this Project Important

The Veterans Law Clinic provides legal representation and support to low-income and disabled veterans and their families who, without our pro bono services, may not otherwise have a voice in our legal system today.