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Equal Justice Works Introduces 2022 Class of Fellows

/ Press Release

84 public interest lawyers will spend the next two years advancing access to justice with underserved communities across the United States.

The 2022 class of Fellows received sponsorship from 81 law firms, corporations, private foundations, and individual donors.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 10, 2022—Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, today named its 2022 class of Equal Justice Works Fellows. Each of the 84 law school graduates, in collaboration with a legal services organization, has designed a two-year Equal Justice Works Fellowship project to address the unmet legal needs of the community they will serve.

“The highlight of the year is when we announce the class of 84 passionate public service leaders who will bring their entrepreneurial ideas and energy to communities that face injustice,” said David Stern, executive director at Equal Justice Works. “Chosen from hundreds of compelling applications, these talented new lawyers are destined to make an impact during their Fellowships and throughout their careers.”

Each year, Equal Justice Works selects a class of public interest lawyers who have designed unique projects in partnership with legal services organizations. These projects are funded by law firms, corporations, private foundations, and individual supporters.

Selected from 385 applications, the 2022 class of Equal Justice Works Fellows includes graduates from 45 law schools who will work at 76 legal services organizations across 20 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Among this year’s 81 sponsors are 31 leading law firms recognized in the Am Law 200 and 25 Fortune 500 corporations.

“Improving access to healthcare is a core component of Abbott’s sustainability plan and ties with our broader mission to help people live their fullest, healthiest lives,” said Hubert Allen, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Abbott. “We are deeply honored to be a sponsor of the 2022 Equal Justice Works Fellowship program and support this vital work.”

Equal Justice Works Fellows in the 2022 class have created projects to address a wide range of legal issues. Examples of these projects include:

  • Nicole Camargo Almeida (she/her/hers), a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law, will be hosted at Legal Action Chicago, where she will provide direct legal representation to low-income immigrants in Illinois seeking healthcare benefits. Nicole’s Fellowship is sponsored by Abbott.
  • Ian Gustafson (he/him/his) will be hosted by the Mississippi Center for Justice, where he will advocate for the clearing of criminal records, restoration of driving privileges, and reinstatement of voting rights on behalf of people formerly incarcerated in southern Mississippi. Ian, a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, is cosponsored by Walmart, Inc. and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.
  • Jemimah Kamau (she/her/hers), a graduate of University of Washington School of Law, will be hosted by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, where she will help respond to the growing legal and social services needs of Black immigrants in a culturally responsive and linguistically competent manner. Jemimah’s Fellowship is sponsored by The Lorenzini Family Foundation.
  • Zoraima Pelaez (she/her/ella) will work to protect the right to abortion and ensure meaningful access, particularly for poor people, people of color, and those living in rural areas, using innovative legal strategies with her host organization, the American Civil Liberties Union. Zoraima, a graduate of University of Texas School of Law, is sponsored by Robyn Lipton and Bruce Kuhlik.
  • Michael Smith (they/them/theirs) will provide legal advocacy for individual survivors of gun violence through a new medical-legal partnership between the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s Community Violence Intervention Program. Michael, a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, will be hosted by Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. Michael’s Fellowship is sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

We are deeply honored to be a sponsor of the 2022 Equal Justice Works Fellowship program and support this vital work.

Hubert Allen /
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Abbott

Over the past three decades, Equal Justice Works has awarded more than 2,300 postgraduate fellowships to public service leaders committed to ensuring equal access to justice for underserved communities. Our Fellowship programs are designed to effect change in communities and throughout our country by mobilizing Fellows to work on key issue areas such as disaster resilience, affordable and safe housing, and crime victims’ rights, as well as through the opportunity for a Fellow to work with a legal services organization to design and implement a unique project in response to a specific or emerging need. On average, 85% of Equal Justice Works Fellows remain in public service positions, continuing to help fulfill our nation’s promise of equal justice for all.

Click here for a full list of the 2022 Equal Justice Works Fellows, host organizations, and sponsors.

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About Equal Justice Works
Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. As the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, nonprofit legal aid organizations, and supporters to promote public service and inspire a lifelong commitment to equal justice.

Contact
Heena Patel
Marketing and Communications Director
Email: [email protected]

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow