/ Blog Post
My Impact is a conversation series from Equal Justice Works, using interviews with alumni to shine a light on what’s possible with an Equal Justice Works Fellowship. We recently spoke with Kyla Moore, a 2016 Fellow hosted by Start Small Think Big. Kyla currently works as the pro bono specialist at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.
More than 45% of New Yorkers live at or near the poverty line, and that percentage is even higher among communities of color. Through her 2016 Fellowship at Start Small Think Big, a nonprofit organization that works with entrepreneurs to grow and sustain their businesses, Kyla Moore helped clients to achieve financial stability and become anchors for their communities through their businesses.
From the very beginning of her law school journey, Kyla was inspired to address economic rights issues by her own family members, many of whom pursued side businesses—“hustles”—that could have benefited greatly from formalized regulations in order to grow and scale. Like many Fellows, this personal connection to the legal need was a driving force behind Kyla’s work: “I was interested in public interest as a means to help my community,” she said.
In conversation with Equal Justice Works Communications Manager Heena Patel, Kyla discussed the law school externship that shaped her Fellowship proposal, her dedicated search for the right host organization, and the benefits afforded by a Fellowship.
Kyla also offered three specific pieces of guidance for Fellowship applicants and those currently in the field:
- Take the initiative. “Find an organization [that] matches your goals… Don’t stop when you [have found the right organization] and you build the project together. Once you’re at the organization, how can you help? Go to staff meetings if you’re able to; see how there are opportunities to merge and invest.”
- Persevere. “There will be roadblocks. Things will change. The plan you had at six months will not be the plan at twelve months.”
- Be adaptable. “You have new information, you have a new opportunity, what are you going to do now?”
Kyla also specifically discussed her transition from doing direct service as an Equal Justice Works Fellow to facilitating opportunities for other public servants as a pro bono specialist at Willkie, Farr & Gallagher LLP; and gave advice for law students entering the field amid a pandemic.
“Start local first… Everyone wants to make a big impact, and that’s really nice, but you can change lives daily around you. How are you affecting your community? There’s always a way to make change where you are, and those changes where you are, make the big changes. This is a time to be hopeful, because people are listening.”
To learn more about becoming a 2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow and kickstart your public interest law career, visit here.
This is a time to be hopeful, because people are listening.
Kyla Moore /
2016 Equal Justice Works Fellow