Sarah Staudt

  • Hosted by Lawndale Christian Legal Center
  • Sponsored by Discover Financial Services, Mayer Brown LLP
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school University of Chicago Law School
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2013
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Sarah provided individualized, holistic legal advocacy to juveniles in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago and created the first resource center for Chicago pro bono attorneys who wish to practice in juvenile court.

North Lawndale is a neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago where more than 1,500 youths are arrested annually. The majority of youth in all of Illinois who are incarcerated for drug offenses come from North Lawndale. Additionally, more than 70 percent of North Lawndale’s youth live in poverty, and fewer than 40 percent graduate high school. These juveniles need more than legal representation. They need comprehensive services beyond the courtroom, including mentoring, job training, and social work sensitive to their developmental needs. Lawndale Christian Legal Center provides holistic representation, integrating legal and social services to walk with juveniles every step of the way as they move through, and ultimately away from, the criminal justice system.

Fellowship Highlights

  • Represented more than 20 youth under the age of 18 in criminal cases in juvenile and adult court
  • Won two motions to quash arrest for teenagers unlawfully stopped by police, leading to the dismissal of their cases
  • Worked holistically with Lawndale Christian Legal Center’s team of social workers to ensure that youth clients are embraced by their communities, restored from trauma, and empowered to move beyond their involvement in the criminal justice system

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