Equal Justice Works Announces Florida Community Economic Development Fellows

/ Press Release


  • Fellowships will provide critical legal aid to communities throughout Florida

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 25, 2017–Equal Justice Works, the leading nonprofit organization committed to mobilizing the next generation of public interest attorneys, today announced the selection of four legal Fellows, sponsored by The Florida Bar Foundation. These four Fellows, along with the nonprofit legal organizations that will host them, will respond to the overwhelming demand for legal representation and community economic development services in Florida.

“The Florida Bar Foundation has played a critical role in launching the public interest careers of more than 75 attorneys through the Equal Justice Works Fellowship program,” said David Stern, Executive Director of Equal Justice Works. “We are thrilled the Foundation is sponsoring four new exceptional lawyers who will bring justice to under-served communities in Florida.”

During a two-year term from September 2017 through August 2019, these four Fellows will utilize direct representation and advocacy work to address housing access and community economic development:

  • Sesilia Valdez Diaz will serve low-wage Latina workers in Central Florida’s hospitality industry experiencing wage theft, discrimination, harassment, and other employment issues. A graduate of Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University College of Law, Ms. Diaz will be hosted by LatinoJustice PRLDEF.
  • Krystin Montersil will work to mitigate the effects of detention on children and families by helping parents prepare and appoint guardians. A graduate of Florida International University College of Law, Ms. Montersil will be hosted by Catholic Legal Services, Archdiocese of Miami.
  • Reina Saco will help migrant and seasonal farmworker communities across Florida gain access to affordable, safe, and sanitary housing. Ms. Saco graduated from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and will be hosted by Florida Legal Services in Alachua County.
  • Kristin Tellis will provide legal services and advocacy to enable residents, businesses, and other stakeholders in Miami’s “Little Haiti” neighborhood to effectively participate and protect their interests in light of gentrification of their community. Ms. Tellis is a graduate of Florida State University College of Law and will be hosted by Legal Services of Greater Miami.

“In Florida, many low-income individuals and families face great injustices without access to any legal advocacy,” said Jewel White, President of The Florida Bar Foundation. “These Equal Justice Works Fellows will provide greater access to legal counsel, which is key to ensuring more stable and productive lives for all Floridians.”

Over the past three decades, Equal Justice Works has awarded more than 1,800 Fellowships to public interest lawyers committed to building a more just society. Around 85 percent of Fellows continue to serve the public interest beyond their Fellowships.

If you have additional questions, please contact [email protected].

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow