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Meet the Student Fellows in the 2023 Disaster Resilience Program

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Equal Justice Works is proud to introduce the 2023 class of Disaster Resilience Program Student Fellows. These 14 law students will spend their summer working alongside Disaster Resilience Program Fellows as they help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

“Disasters bring about complex legal issues that require specific expertise in disaster law to solve,” said Linda Anderson Stanley, associate director at Equal Justice Works and special advisor to the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Disaster Legal Services Program. “We are proud to support these Student Fellows in their work to expand critical legal resources for communities affected by disasters and their efforts to build more resilient communities.”

Through the Disaster Resilience Program, Student Fellows will gain exposure to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery legal work. They will help to provide civil legal services, engage in community education and advocacy efforts, and build capacity at their host organization.

Meet our Disaster Resilience Program Student Fellows and learn more about how they will be supporting a wide range of disaster-related legal issues, including housing, employment, immigration, accessibility, and health care needs.

Headshot of Ben Beckman
Photo of Ben Beckman

Ben Beckman, Lewis and Clark Law School

Ben, hosted at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, will spend the summer representing wildfire survivors in administrative hearings and court cases throughout Los Angeles County. Ben will also conduct client outreach to natural disaster survivors by distributing resources and attending community events.

 

Photo of Cadence Ciesielski

Cadence Ciesielski, William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada

At New Mexico Immigrant Law Center Cadence will work to address the economic mobility of immigrants impacted by the pandemic through direct services, education, and advocacy with administrative agencies and licensing bodies.

 

Headshot of Colton Cronin
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Colton Cronin, Vanderbilt Law School

Colton will work with a newly formed disaster legal team at West Tennessee Legal Services to provide civil legal aid and develop disaster resiliency to West Tennesseans affected by the December 2021 tornado. Colton will also assist with community outreach and the development of disaster legal forms and resiliency tools.

 

Headshot of Molly Giguiere
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Molly Giguiere, University of San Francisco School of Law (she/her/hers)

At Disability Rights California, Molly will assist in responding to the legal needs of Californians with disabilities before, during, and after wildfire disasters. She will help in partnering with grassroots community groups to strengthen existing disaster resource centers and coalitions and provide accessible clinics, trainings, and direct legal services to people with disabilities.

 

Headshot of Drew Hoffman
Photo of Drew Hoffman

Drew Hoffman, University of Missouri School of Law

Hosted at Legal Aid of Arkansas, Drew will spend the summer providing direct legal services to people with opioid use disorder, developing educational materials, and conducting community outreach. Drew will engage at an opioid clinic to do eligibility screening and legal interviews for patients with opioid use disorder.

 

Equal Justice Works LogomarkJulissa Juarez, North Carolina Central University School of Law

At Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project, Julissa will work with survivors of the 2021 Missouri tornadoes to help prepare immigration cases for affirmative filings and Immigration Court. Julissa will also assist in planning community outreach activities for disaster preparedness.

 

Headhot of Jesse Leaneagh
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Jesse Leaneagh, The University of Tulsa College of Law

At New Mexico Immigrant Law Center Jesse will work to address the economic mobility of immigrants impacted by the pandemic through direct services, education, and advocacy with administrative agencies and licensing bodies. 

 

Headshot of Megna Murali
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Megna Murali, Vermont Law School

Megna, hosted at Kentucky Legal Aid, will spend the summer attending outreach events organized to perform work required in order to prepare and assist the community in disaster relief. Megna will also assist with legal filing, drafting, and multiple forms of communication.

 

Headshot of Tiana Pham
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Tiana Pham, Texas A&M University School of Law

At Disability Rights Louisiana, Tiana will work to eliminate or mitigate barriers to critical programs, services, and housing for people with disabilities in Louisiana who have been impacted by disasters. Tiana will also help expand stakeholder relationships, conduct training and outreach, and share information and resources for disaster survivors.

 

Equal Justice Works LogomarkMichel Ramirez, University of New Mexico School of Law

Hosted at New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, Michel will assist in addressing the legal needs of asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors, and incarcerated immigrants in the New Mexico border region who have been impacted by policies related to COVID 19, human rights, and other disasters. Michel will work on a wide-range of legal issues including asylum and work-permit applications, navigating the detention and removal process, and seeking bond and release.

 

Headshot of Taylor Rappeport
Photo of Taylor Rappeport

Taylor Rappeport, University of Colorado Law School (she/her/hers)

Taylor, hosted at Disability Rights Louisiana, will work to eliminate or mitigate barriers to critical programs, services, and housing for people with disabilities in Louisiana who have been impacted by disasters. She will also help expand stakeholder relationships, conduct training and outreach, and share information and resources for disaster survivors.

 

Headshot of Kaylee Sheppard
Photo of Kaylee Sheppard

Kaylee Sheppard, University of Georgia School of Law (she/her/hers)

Hosted at Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, Kaylee will spend the summer assisting with work on legal issues for individuals and families impacted by the 2021 tornadoes. She will conduct education and outreach, as well as complete other work related to disaster recovery and resilience.

 

Equal Justice Works LogomarkBella, Bjornstad, University of New Mexico School of Law

At New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, Bella will assist in addressing the legal needs of asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors, and incarcerated immigrants in the New Mexico border region who have been impacted by policies related to COVID 19, human rights, and other disasters. Bella will work on a wide-range of legal issues including asylum and work-permit applications, navigating the detention and removal process, and seeking bond and release.

Visit here for more information about Disaster Resilience Program.

The Disaster Resilience Program is currently funded American Red Cross, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and the California Wildfires Recovery, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Danaher Foundation.

"We are proud to support these Student Fellows in their work to expand critical legal resources for communities affected by disasters and their efforts to build more resilient communities.”

Linda Anderson Stanley /
Associate Director, Equal Justice Works Disaster Resilience Program
Special Advisor, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Disaster Legal Services Program

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow