Hillary Richard

The Project

Hillary (she/her/hers) serves Minnesotans returning home from prison by providing civil legal aid and coordinating pro bono representation through the Minnesota Collaborative Justice Project.

The Minnesota Collaborative Justice Project aims to improve the experience and outcomes of formerly incarcerated Minnesotans by reducing barriers to successful reentry, including addressing their civil legal needs upon release. Unaddressed civil legal needs often create burdensome barriers to successful reentry. For example, meaningful and sustainable employment is a key factor in reducing recidivism. However, debilitating debts substantially hinder the success of clients by deterring them from participating in the formal economy. In addition, many reentering clients also need help obtaining a valid driver’s license. Reliable transportation is integral to seeking and maintaining employment; it bolsters independence and productivity while relieving stress in everyday interactions by providing accurate identification. Parental incarceration is also often an abrupt and damaging interruption to family life. Reentry provides an opportunity to reestablish parenting time and strengthen the parent-child bond, while sharing the overall responsibility of caregiving.

Fellowship Plans

Hillary will promote successful reentry by offering civil legal services to formerly incarcerated individuals returning to the community in Minnesota. She will recruit pro bono lawyers and legal staff in Minnesota to provide pro bono legal services to reentry clients. She will present quarterly training programs to pro bono attorneys and empower formerly incarcerated individuals by offering triannual ‘know your rights’ programs to address the common civil legal barriers to reentry.

Media

Julia Potach, 3L, Hillary Richard ’21 Named Equal Justice Works Fellows

One tangible way I can support racial and economic justice in my city is by helping to alleviate some of my clients’ stress caused by civil legal issues. The legal work is one means to the end goal of liberation.

Hillary Richard /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Matt (he/him/his) will partner with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project to provide holistic representation for detained LGBTQIA+ migrants in Arizona via direct representation, strategic litigation, and community lawyering.

LGBTQIA+ migrants fleeing violence and discrimination at home often arrive at the Southwest Border only to encounter more of the same. Arizona has one of the highest immigrant detention rates in the nation, and many are locked up merely for asserting their legal right to seek asylum. In detention, queer migrants are particularly vulnerable. Nationwide, they represent 0.14% of detainees but 12% of sexual abuse cases and remain in ICE custody up to three times longer than cisgender, heterosexual migrants. Now more than ever, LGBTQIA+ migrants in Arizona need a dedicated advocate.

Matt is inspired by his musical genius Korean mother, who came to the U.S. back when racist quotas kept most Asians out, and his white, hippie science professor father, who left his church due to its opposition to gay rights. They taught him to embrace those who are different, fight for the less fortunate, and never give up on the gay agenda.

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Matt will provide direct representation for LGBTQIA+ migrants by fighting for their release through ICE advocacy and custody redetermination hearings. He will also strategically litigate asylum claims and build resources to help fellow practitioners. Finally, Matt will collaborate with existing community organizations to strengthen Arizona’s support system for LGBTQIA+ migrants and push for structural change.

Media

2022 Equal Justice Works Fellowship Winner Has a Passion for Immigrant Rights

69 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships−including the U.S. until 2003. Sexual orientation and gender identity can be strong bases for asylum, but, without representation, queer migrants often face prolonged detention and removal.

Matthew Palmquist /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Mikayla (she/her/hers) will represent clients and educate members of the community on heirs’ property issues to help underserved communities build generational wealth through land and property ownership.

Heirs’ property occurs when an individual dies without a will. When there is no will, families who inherit the land lack a clear title to the land, which developers then use to their advantage to purchase the land, often without the knowledge of all the family members. Heirs’ property disproportionately affects African Americans and has resulted in a loss of vast amounts of land.

Growing up in South Carolina, Mikayla has seen many Black families lose their lands over the years and the demographics and cultures of cities rapidly change. After attending law school, Mikayla believes that, through the legal system, traditionally underserved communities can fight to keep their land and preserve their culture.

Fellowship Plans

Mikayla will represent clients in traditionally underserved communities in matters such as will writing and estate planning. Mikayla will also conduct educational seminars regarding heirs’ property and the importance of land preservation. At the end of her fellowship, Mikayla plans to compose a symposium where she will invite experts and scholars in heirs’ property and land loss issues to come and speak about heirs’ property in their respective regions.

Media

Law school research helped recent graduate land prestigious fellowship

As a mixed-race woman from the south, minority land ownership is important to me. My ancestors were not allowed to own property- but instead were property. Through this fellowship, I plan to address the racist history of the American legal system.

Mikayla Mangle /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Kevin (he/him/his) advocates on behalf of incarcerated people in Kentucky and communities affected by prison gerrymandering to stop the use of the criminal justice system as a means of disenfranchising voters.

The criminal justice system is often used as a tool to disenfranchise voters. Incarceration-based disenfranchisement occurs in many forms, including impeding people in pre-trial detention from voting and shifting political power away from communities through prison gerrymandering. There are an estimated 21,000 pre-trial detainees in Kentucky, each of whom has the constitutional right to vote, but many are nevertheless unable to vote due to poor jail administration. Moreover, the Kentucky legislature has continually used prisons to egregiously gerrymander the state.

These forms of political disempowerment are under scrutinized but must be addressed. Kentuckians need a comprehensive program that will integrate direct services, policy advocacy, and litigation to make jailhouse voting more accessible and end prison gerrymandering.

Kevin is motivated by his many family reunions in Kentucky, his childhood in the South, and the overwhelming need to expand the right to vote at this critical, historical moment.

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Kevin will work directly with incarcerated people in pre-trial detention to register incarcerated voters and help them vote absentee. He will engage in advocacy to improve jail practices, advance prison gerrymandering policy, and publish policy reports. Finally, he will commence litigation to end prison gerrymandering in Kentucky and ensure jails comply with their constitutional duties.

The right to vote is sacred, and nobody should be disenfranchised because of their wealth or zip code.

Kevin Muench /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Julia Potach (she/her/hers) combats racial injustices caused by the disparate impact of the “crimmigration” system through collaborative litigation and education for noncitizens who urgently need to overturn unjust convictions.

As large numbers of refugees and immigrants have made Minnesota their home, many have come in contact with the criminal justice system, which disproportionately impacts communities of color at every stage. Criminal convictions make refugees and immigrants ineligible to adjust their immigration status or seek relief, regardless of the circumstances of their arrest and evidence of rehabilitation. While post-conviction relief promises a way to successfully mitigate the adverse immigration consequences of a conviction, immigration legal service providers have historically lacked the capacity and specialized training to provide representation that spans both the federal immigration and state criminal legal systems.

Julia provided legal services to families held in the country’s largest immigration detention center before attending law school. Her work there inspired her to advocate for the most marginalized and vulnerable immigrants.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Julia will represent immigrants and refugees with criminal records, especially those who would be good candidates for post-conviction relief and have long periods of residence in the community. She will also engage in advocacy efforts to increase access to immigration-related post-conviction relief in Minnesota. Additionally, she will provide community legal education about the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and the availability of post-conviction relief vehicles to mitigate such consequences.

Media

Julia Potach, 3L, Hillary Richard ’21 Named Equal Justice Works Fellows

For many noncitizens with criminal records, post-conviction relief is the only way to remain in the United States and avoid indefinite separation from their families and communities.

Julia Potach /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Dalia (she/her/hers/ella) will work alongside Immigrant Justice Idaho (IJI) to provide direct legal immigration services to individuals in rural communities of Idaho who seek asylum or are in removal proceedings.

Idaho is home to residents in small rural communities who struggle to access legal services, particularly immigration services. This project seeks to breach the gap in need and focus on removal defense and defensive asylum cases. The need for representation of these cases is high and these individuals are least likely to be represented due to many reasons, such as a lack of funds, unaccessible information and services, and isolation in small rural towns where services are not available.

Dalia’s personal experiences drive her passion for this project. After college, Dalia worked with families in rural communities, which motivated her to pursue law school and inspired this project. She looks forward to working with communities in Idaho and expanding access to immigration legal services.

Fellowship Plans

Dalia’s project has two central components: to increase the number of rural residents in Idaho who receive IJI deportation defense services and to train trusted partners in geographically diverse communities to make referrals to IJI. Dalia will renew outreach to rural communities and expand IJI’s pilot referral project to a majority of the counties in Idaho. This effort, in addition to a revival of safely conducted in-person outreach to rural communities, is expected to drive more cases to IJI and deliver needed immigration expertise to those who serve the IJI constituent community.

As an undocumented woman of color, I grew up personally impacted by immigration laws and policies. This project is an opportunity to give back to my community and bring legal services to areas that have a high need for them.

Dalia Pedro Trujillo /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Joseph’s (he/him/his) project will provide legal representation, community education, and outreach to domestic home healthcare workers in Chicago to enforce their rights under the new Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

Illinois is home to roughly 85,000 domestic workers, roughly 47,000 of whom are home healthcare workers. Most are women, people of color, and immigrants. They play an important role in caring for older adults and people with disabilities in their homes, but they are also three times more likely than other workers to live in poverty. Joseph’s project will educate domestic workers about their employment-related rights and provide direct legal representation to address discrimination, wage theft, retaliation, and harassment.

Joseph has made workers’ rights and economic justice the central motivator of his law school career. He understands the unfair and enormous burden placed on individuals with limited proficiency in English to access justice. He believes that creating a more equitable, worker-centered approach in the workplace will lead to greater economic security for individuals in low-income, immigrant communities.

Fellowship Plans

Joseph will work with community partners in Chicago to strengthen enforcement of the new Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights by identifying violations. His project will develop multi-lingual and literacy-appropriate know-your-rights materials and host community events to disseminate information about the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. He will also pursue enforcement of the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights with city and state agencies to address discrimination, wage theft, retaliation, and harassment.

My Equal Justice Works Fellowship has afforded me the opportunity to serve low-wage workers, particularly domestic workers in Chicago. I’m proud to fight for a more just workplace free of discrimination, wage theft, harassment, and retaliation.

Joseph Garcia /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Remi (she/her/hers) will advance advocacy for children in adult prisons serving life without parole sentences in Louisiana to: (1) improve prison conditions; (2) ensure education and rehabilitation; and (3) develop mitigation.

Despite legal and cultural change, Louisiana routinely condemns children to life without parole. Under recent changes to Louisiana law, some juveniles originally sentenced to life without parole could become eligible for parole hearings, providing an opportunity for release after serving twenty-five years in prison. A child’s success navigating the prison environment is critical to their parole hearing outcome. Remi’s project is designed to provide the necessary structural support to children navigating the adult prison environment and ensuring access to education, self-improvement, and rehabilitation programs.

Remi is inspired to do this work because this is home. “The work of juvenile justice is what I want. And the people of Louisiana are who I want to do it with.”

Fellowship Plans

The overarching goal of this Fellowship project is to ensure that juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) clients are treated humanely and in recognition of the fact that they are, or were, children while incarcerated. Remi will provide legal and informal advocacy for clients while incarcerated to ensure their humane treatment and increase their likelihood of success in their eventual parole hearings. The strategies for achieving this goal will include: (1) providing civil legal and administrative advocacy to incarcerated JLWOP clients, (2) creating a practitioner’s guide for incarceration-based lawyering, and (3) administering Know Your Rights seminars.

The Project

Jacob (he/him/his) will advocate for fair political maps to be drawn in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin in the 2020 redistricting cycle. He will work to ensure equal access to voting, education, health, and racial justice. 

In growing Midwestern urban centers, local problems stem directly from the lack of state-level representation due to gerrymandering. For example: Detroit filed America’s largest municipal bankruptcy; Flint failed to provide its residents with clean water; Madison changed school superintendents six times in eight years amid multiple racial controversies; and Kenosha’s mismanaged police force shot Jacob Blake. 

After the Kenosha shooting, residents’ advocacy for independent prosecution was futile against a legislature that had diluted their community’s power. Gerrymandering limits access to funding and legislative change, leaving communities with fewer resources for schools and police department oversight. It creates and compounds racial disparities. 

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Jacob will support challenges against gerrymandered districts as Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin redraw their state legislative and congressional maps. He will conduct research, find plaintiffs, conduct investigations, and support critical filing of lawsuits. While many structural changes require political rather than legal action, redistricting provides a unique opportunity to allow communities to advocate for themselves both in litigation and in the legislature once fair maps are drawn. 

Media

Eight from Harvard Law named Equal Justice Works Fellows

Growing up in Wisconsin, I saw firsthand the effects of representation. I was a high school student in the Madison public schools when a gerrymandered legislature demanded drastic, unprecedented school cuts for large districts including mine. My calling is advocacy for schools, and my tool is redistricting.

Jacob Carrel /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Meena (she/her/hers) will document and challenge the widespread effects of precision policing tactics used to surveil, police, and criminalize Latinxs on Long Island, New York. 

“Precision policing” presumes that police can predict and prevent crimes before they happen by concentrating investigations, surveillance, and harassment on so-called “hot spot” neighborhoods and communities. Although packaged as a solution to the sweeping overreach and racial disparities of stop-and-frisk policies, “precision policing” has instead intensified the racial disparities endemic to policing. In Long Island, New York, the information gleaned from the enhanced surveillance of particular “hot spots” has been used to create lists of individuals alleged to be involved in, loosely affiliated with, or at-risk of criminal activity. Although an individual’s inclusion in these lists is often prompted by entirely non-criminal criteria such as association, inclusion can have serious criminal justice and immigration consequences. Wherever the use of these lists has come to light, they have been shown to be over-inclusive, racially biased, and riddled with errors. Unfortunately, no comprehensive investigation has been undertaken to identify the full scope and effect of these tactics on Long Island, which is one of the most racially and economically segregated geographic locations in the United States and an area that suffers from a long history of intentional discrimination and racially biased policing against Latinxs. 

Meena’s motivation for challenging discriminatory policing tactics and the consequences of disparate police harassment is driven by her personal experience growing up in an intentionally segregated midwestern city to a first-generation, Latina mother, paired with her extended family’s own experience with deportation. 

Fellowship Plans

Meena will document, collect, and generate data about the discriminatory use and effects of precision policing tactics, including databases utilizing non-criminal criteria. She will work with community partners to develop and publish an empirical paper documenting the major findings of her project and provide policy and legislative recommendations to local and national stakeholders, media, and government officials. Building on her investigative findings and community partnerships, Meena will also develop administrative and litigation strategies to challenge the laws, regulations, and policies that enable discriminatory law enforcement practices based on race and association.