Jennifer Holloway

The Project

Jennifer (she/her/hers) works to eliminate medical debt in Washington, D.C., with hopes to advance economic and racial equity through direct representation, policy advocacy, and hospital-based reform.

Medical debt is the largest source of debt Americans owe collections agencies. Residents of D.C. hold over $700 million in medical debt, with households of color in the area over 300% more likely to hold medical debt than their white neighbors. This medical debt leads to many negative financial and psychological consequences. Although D.C. has expanded Medicaid eligibility, many thousands of residents are still uninsured or under-insured and unable to pay steep medical bills, particularly in light of the impacts of COVID-19. No local legal service provider in D.C. currently focuses on addressing medical debt.

Fellowship Plans

Through her project, Jennifer will provide direct legal representation to D.C. residents holding medical debt. She will conduct community education sessions to mitigate future medical debt loads by helping community members access hospital financial assistance. She will advocate for increased protections for holders of medical debt under D.C. laws. Finally, Jennifer will collaborate with hospitals in the area to help them sell their written-off bad debt to RIP Medical Debt, which will then forgive the debt entirely.

Media

Equal Justice Works Awards Medical Debt Fellowship at Tzedek DC

Re-thinking medical debt in D.C. is an important step forward in eliminating the racial wealth gap and advancing equity within our nation’s capital.

Jennifer Holloway /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Amanda provides legal assistance to cost-burdened senior homeowners in Cook County to (a) help preserve their homeownership rights so that they can afford to age in place and (b) ensure seniors have succession plans so they can pass their property interest on to designated beneficiaries.

Through the Housing Preservation Project, Amanda assists seniors in making estate plans to keep their homes out of probate. This helps ensure preservation of families’ equity, by avoiding the cost and expense of probate, and avoids property loss due to heirship issues, which may impact not only the intergenerational transfer of wealth but also avoid additional property vacancies in communities.

Before law school, Amanda completed a year of service with Illinois JusticeCorps, where she provided legal information to pro se litigants in rural Knox County, Illinois. In that capacity, it became apparent to Amanda the difference that access to basic legal information can make. Amanda pursued law school to increase access to justice for low and moderate-income Illinois residents.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

During the first year of the Fellowship, Amanda has:

  • Successfully advocated for an extension of temporary recording fee reduction and, ultimately, a permanent reduction for Transfer on Death Instrument (TODI) recording fees at the county-level
  • Provided full representation to 93 clients, predominately drafting and recording TODI, as well as Deceased Joint Tenancy Affidavits, drafting and recordation of quitclaim deeds, powers of attorney documents, and last wills & testaments
  • Provided brief service to 96 individuals through real estate tax exemption assistance and title searches
  • Reached 400 community members through outreach presentations and community-based events
  • Gave eight CLE presentations, including a joint CLE and pro bono workshop for 19 PayPal attorneys

Next Steps

In the next year, Amanda plans to:

  • Work to publish an article about the potential of expanding HPP state-wide
  • Continue providing community-based services to low- and moderate-income homeowners and conducting community education and outreach
  • Work with new community-based agencies to expand the program’s reach
  • Continue training and engaging pro bono attorneys, including sponsor attorneys

Housing stability is integral to the quality of life. Having the option to age-in-place is crucial to seniors’ dignity. At the same time, simple estate planning can help ensure that homes are seamlessly passed on to future generations and prevent properties from becoming vacant, thereby impacting communities at large.

Amanda Insalaco /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Jennifer (she/her)  kickstarted her legal career by serving as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and legal services attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group, addressing public benefits and economic justice issues. She is passionate about helping social justice leaders resource themselves and their organizations.

Next Steps

Jen then transitioned to nonprofit management and leadership development work, managing national initiatives for NPower, corporate volunteer programs for Microsoft, and fellowship programs at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership.

While managing public interest and pro bono programs at Seattle University School of Law, she started to coordinate a statewide “Leadership Academy” for attorneys and community partners. Jen then helped to create the nonprofit JustLead Washington as a home for the Academy and the Washington Race Equity & Justice Initiative and served as JustLead’s founding Executive Director.

Since departing JustLead, Jen continues to support legal and social justice organizations as an independent consultant providing leadership, equity, and anti-racism training, consulting, coaching, and facilitation.

The Project

Lydia’s project expanded access to legal services for immigrants impacted by the criminal legal system through a “clinic-plus” model leveraging pro bono resources and community partnerships.

California is home to more than 5 million noncitizen immigrants. Noncitizens with criminal records—not unlike U.S. citizens—face barriers to obtaining jobs, education, and housing. But interaction with the criminal legal system for noncitizens of any status can also result in deportation and family separation. Oftentimes, noncitizens enter a criminal plea without knowledge of the impact on immigration status. 

California law offers unique post-conviction relief opportunities that can mitigate these disproportionate and harsh immigration consequences. Attorney assistance is crucial to providing access to the due-process protections and second chances afforded by these laws. However, very few free or low-cost legal service providers offer these services. Lydia piloted her project in Northern California counties, including San Joaquin and Sonoma Counties, where the need and opportunity for this work is particularly present. 

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship period, Lydia:

  • Piloted and iterated an Immigrant Post-Conviction Relief Legal Clinic providing screening, legal advice, full-scope services, and referrals to 25 noncitizen clients impacted by the criminal legal system
  • Won a post-conviction relief motion, resulting in the termination of the client’s deportation proceedings
  • Placed and supervised five post-conviction relief cases with pro bono attorneys from her sponsor, Orrick
  • Provided brief service and referrals to 147 individuals through workshops and clinics
  • Launched two new county and state collaboratives to bring together immigration, reentry, and post-conviction relief service providers to share resources and referrals and build capacity for immigration-related post-conviction relief services
  • Created and published two toolkits containing nearly 50 unique resources to support legal services providers in expanding legal services for individuals with overlapping reentry and immigration needs

Next Steps

After completing her Fellowship, Lydia joined the Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay as an immigration removal defense attorney. At JFCS, she continues to support noncitizens impacted by the criminal legal system by providing deportation defense in collaboration with Stand Together Contra Costa.

Media

OneJustice & Partners Launch Immigrant Clean Slate Clinic