Michele Gershman Scavongelli

  • Hosted by Youth Advocacy Division
  • Sponsored by Bingham McCutchen LLP
  • Service location Boston, Massachusetts
  • Law school Northeastern University School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Education/Special Education
  • Fellowship class year 2012
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Michele worked on creating a sustainable model of child-empowered legal advocacy in matters of school discipline and the special education needs of indigent children who are involved in the Massachusetts juvenile justice and child welfare systems.

There is no right to representation for children in matters of school discipline and special education. Positive life outcomes are associated with educational achievement. Court-involved children need trained legal advocates to ensure that they have what they need to achieve this success. Without this, their future outcomes will be bleak and, as a society, we cannot afford for this to continue.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Michele:

  • Represented 21 students facing school exclusion
  • Addressed court issues related to in-school behavior for 13 students
  • Secured special education eligibility for eight clients
  • Improved Individualized Education Program services for 12 clients
  • Helped 16 students secure a more appropriate school placement
  • Ensured adequate transition services for five clients
  • Co-sponsored a law school project focused on equal opportunity for families of students with disabilities
  • Won a preliminary injunction requiring a school to admit a student who had been unfairly suspended
  • Trained more than 350 attorneys, youth service providers, and foster families in education advocacy
  • Created a pro bono panel comprised of 35 attorneys from law firms and corporate law departments

Where are they now?

Michele remained at the Youth Advocacy Foundation’s EdLaw Project as a staff attorney.

Meet Other Fellows Like Michele

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Rachel Judd

Host: Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center

Sponsor: The Morrison & Foerster Foundation

Mary Claire Hyatt

Host: Legal Aid of Arkansas

Sponsor: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Walmart, Inc.

Lily Eagle Colby

Host: Youth Law Center

Sponsor: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Christina Campbell

Host: Center For Educational Excellence In Alternative Settings

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP