Michael Pope ’10 has received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship to implement a project of his own design that will provide civil legal representation to New York’s indigent youth reentering society after a criminal or juvenile delinquency conviction.
The EJW Fellowship is a highly competitive postgraduate legal fellowship that places new lawyers in two-year assignments at nonprofit public interest organizations to implement projects that address pressing community needs. Pope’s Community Youth Reentry Project will be sponsored by Morrison and Foerster LLP and hosted by Youth Represent, founded and directed by Laurie Parise, Class of 2004.
Pope is an Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellow, a member of the Moot Court Honor Society, and active in Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest (BLSPI). He has interned with Hon. Robert M. Levy, a United States Magistrate Judge, Eastern District of New York, the Holland & Knight Community Service Team, Brooklyn Defender Services and the Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Division. He currently is an extern at Bronx Defenders Civil Action Practice. A graduate of the University of Washington, he spent three years before law school working for the Innocence Project Northwest in Seattle.
Like Pope, Parise was an EJW Fellow and also a Sparer Fellow in law school. In 2006, she was awarded an Echoing Green Fellowship to start Youth Represent, which is the only defender agency in New York City dedicated solely to young people affected by the criminal or juvenile justice system. (www.youthrepresent.org).
“We are thrilled to have Michael on our staff,” Parise said. “Youth Represent is relatively new and very small, and to even have a shot at having an EJW fellow we needed a particularly strong candidate. So where was I going to look first? BLS and Sparer of course!”
Pope’s project will address the overwhelming legal challenges young people face in rebuilding their lives after even a misdemeanor conviction, especially in the areas of employment, education and housing. Pope will provide legal representation in collaboration with three large social service agencies. It will be “holistic support to help young people successfully transition from courthouse to community,” he said.
He said that he had many professors to thank for their help in preparing him for the fellowship, including Michael Cahill, Susan Herman and Cynthia Godsoe, and he was grateful to Elizabeth Kane, director of public service programs, for making the match between him and Youth Represent.
Listen to an interview with Michael Pope.