I attended law school at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts with plans to become a civil rights attorney. In law school, I had the opportunity to work as a legal intern in environments that nurtured my passion for public service and social justice, including at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the White House, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. I also had the opportunity to help manage a free legal clinic for low-income transgender people in Massachusetts.
After graduating from law school in 2012, I worked as a Regional Voter Protection Director for a presidential campaign in North Carolina, but afterwards I had difficulty obtaining employment in public interest law. This experience inspired me to found Civic Legal Corps, a social enterprise organization dedicated to empowering new public interest attorneys and closing the justice gap for low- and moderate-income people. I currently serve as Executive Director of Civic Legal Corps.
How has your practice evolved in the last few years?
Although I do not currently practice law, my focus has evolved from having a passion for direct client contact in civil rights and public interest law to enjoying work as a social entrepreneur and innovator in the legal sector. In the next few years, I will help ensure that Civic Legal Corps leads the movement to provide quality, affordable legal services for low and moderate income people, while empowering new attorneys to launch careers dedicated to public service.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
Discover what you are truly passionate about, and don’t be afraid to take risks pursuing it.
What is the one technological device you could not function without daily?
My laptop, which keeps me connected to the ever-changing life of a social entrepreneur.
How has civility made a difference in your practice of law?
Civility has been essential to my successful development of Civic Legal Corps. For more than two years, I had productive conversations and built partnerships with leaders in the law, social entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. Because many legal aid providers, law professors, and post-graduate fellowship programs have been studying and working on the access to justice issue for many years, one might assume that many people would be wary of a new organization such as ours. But I was encouraged to find widespread support for our commitment to sustainably closing the justice gap for low- and moderate-income people, while empowering new attorneys to pursue careers in the public interest. For example, we’ve received support from leaders in the legal community such as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.) and Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow.
I have found that by working collaboratively with others and sharing best practices with leaders throughout the legal community, we can all advance our shared interest of ensuring that more people are able to access the legal system.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy performing improvisation at The Second City and spending time with my fiancé, Nathan, and my canine best friend, Cooper. I also enjoy working out and traveling whenever possible, having visited five continents (and counting). I’ve been fortunate to participate in numerous service projects during my travels, including veterinary service projects in Ecuador, India, Botswana, and Kenya, where we educated agrarian communities about animal health and environmental impact, as well as community service projects in the Navajo Nation, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Boston, Massachusetts; and Raleigh, North Carolina. Whether working on humane education, environmental sustainability, or civic engagement, I enjoy giving back to my community as much as possible.