May 31, 2023
Announcing Southwestern's 2023 Judge Harry Pregerson Public Service Fellows
We are proud to present Southwestern's 2023 JHP Public Service Fellows: Bryon Alvarez, Donald Bullock, Anthony Carini, Shara Darden, Alexander Drew, Desirae Ibarra, Carie Martin, Zara Mokhtar, Isel Ramirez, and Nadia Salcedo.
Judge Harry Pregerson (JHP) Public Service Fellows are selected students who demonstrate exceptional dedication to public service and who are most likely to dedicate their legal careers to working on behalf of underserved communities and causes. Made possible by a grant from the Rodan Family Foundation, JHP Public Service Fellows receive summer fellowships in the amount of $8,000 for second-year fellows and $5,500 for first-year fellows.
JHP Public Service Fellows undergo a competitive committee review process comprised of Southwestern faculty, staff, and alumni who select JHP Public Service Fellows on the basis of merit, leadership potential, and demonstrated commitment or significant achievements in the fields of public service.
Meet our 2023 JHP Fellows
We asked our JHP Fellows what they were looking forward to the most this summer. Here's what they said:
Bryon Alvarez: Prison Law Office
I am most excited to challenge myself, personally and professionally, by moving to California’s Bay area for the first time to learn a different area of public interest law. As a summer clerk with the Prison Law Office, a public interest firm based in Berkeley, I will be advocating for those who are incarcerated and ensuring their access to mental health and medical care treatment, along with combatting their poor conditions of confinement.
Donald Bullock: Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office
As a summer clerk at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, I am first and foremost looking forward to upholding the constitutional rights of indigent clients. Part of my “why” in coming to law school was to learn how to fight for those who are on the margins of society and to see them as human beings and not a label. Through this summer clerkship, I look forward to getting to know individual clients and working with them to uphold their rights. Additionally, I am looking forward to learning from highly experienced Public Defenders and learning directly from them how to be the best advocate for my future clients.
Anthony Carini: Bet Tzedek Legal Services
I am looking forward to using my background in economics and finance to help provide direct relief for small business owners and low-wage workers. I’m excited to learn how the law can be used to break people out of poverty and give everyone a chance at financial freedom. Far too many of us are forced to live paycheck-to-paycheck with too little disposable income to make the kind of investments needed to reach financial freedom. Giving low-income and underserved communities the representation and tools needed to build businesses, own homes, and live free from the worry that the next recession will ruin them are the first steps in creating the economic opportunity and justice we are all entitled to. I am also excited to share ideas and learn from attorneys with similar values and passions as me. I want to glean as much as I can from my supervising attorneys and peers so that I can become the most effective, empathetic, and zealous advocate I can be. I think my summer placement is a fantastic place for me to build the skills I need to make the impact I want on the world.
Shara Darden: Inner City Law Center
I am looking forward to working as a certified law student in the Tenant Defense Project at Inner City Law Center. As a certified law clerk, I will be able to appear on record for clients in court and participate in more aspects of the eviction defense process. At a more macro level, it is very rewarding to be a part of the housing justice community and to learn practical legal skills that are much needed in the lawyering for liberation movement, including trial advocacy, negotiation strategies, and persuasive legal writing. But most importantly, I am excited to help families stay housed.
Alexander Drew: Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office – Workers Compensation Division
This summer, I will be working for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Workers Compensation Division. Workers’ compensation is a vital system that promotes fairness and accountability by ensuring workers and employees are taken care of. I am particularly thrilled to witness the workings of Los Angeles’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program and understand its advantages compared to the traditional forum utilized by the State in workers’ compensation disputes, namely the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. Ultimately, I am excited to gain firsthand litigation experience that I can take with me and apply to helping others. Many of my friends and family are working-class laborers, some of them have refrained from seeking workers’ compensation benefits due to concerns about potential retaliation or the fear of losing their job during their recovery period. Therefore, I am genuinely eager to delve deeper into workers’ compensation and labor law, enabling me to better educate my community about the rights they are entitled to.
Desirae Ibarra: Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office
I am looking forward to learning more about what it is truly like to be a criminal defense attorney. I want to learn as much from my supervising attorney as possible so that I can be an effective advocate for my clients. I am so excited to hone my research and writing skills in drafting briefs and motions that will be filed in court. I will be allowed to participate in client interviews, case strategy meetings, and court proceedings. Such real-life educational experiences that I will receive in the Public Defender’s Office will help me develop the practical skills necessary to succeed in the legal profession and which cannot be taught in a classroom. I am eager to learn about the daily responsibilities of an attorney, but most importantly, how to help indigent clients in the most effective manner possible.
Carie Martin: Public Counsel – Community Development Project
I’m excited to work with a team of attorneys, advocates, and community activists using collaborative strategies to improve the economic landscape for Los Angeles’ working poor. In addition to a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of LA’s street vending community against Los Angeles’ illegal enforcement of no-vending zones, I'll be learning how to strengthen tenant protections and reinforce existing networks and infrastructure providing essential services to historically marginalized neighborhoods. With the continued economic fallout for small business owners from the COVID-19 pandemic and the displacement of residents and businesses from areas targeted for development, including for the 2028 Olympics to be hosted in Los Angeles, I'm sure I will be busy and learning a lot!
Zara Mokhtar: American Civil Liberties Union - Southern California
This summer, I will be working as a law clerk for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California Jails Project. The project's primary focus is to monitor living conditions and medical services provided in all Los Angeles County jail facilities with the goal of ensuring that facilities maintain hygienic conditions for individuals who are incarcerated. In supporting ACLU attorneys and in collaborating with fellow law clerks, I am excited to work towards advocating for a higher standard of care through public education and litigation.
Isel Ramirez: Public Counsel – Community Development Project
I am honored to have this opportunity to work as a summer clerk for the Community Development Project at Public Counsel, and I am most looking forward to supporting local nonprofits and small businesses to build capacity in grassroots efforts to achieve economic and housing justice. I am eager to learn about community lawyering and the process of using the law to empower low-income communities of color to push for change in their communities.
Nadia Salcedo: The Collective for Liberatory Lawyering
As I look ahead to a new opportunity that is a complete shift from my last summer clerkship, I am most excited to explore movement lawyering at an intersection of civil and criminal law as it impacts youth. The Collective for Liberatory Lawyering aligns with my mission of dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline by collaborating with grassroots organizations that strive to support youth as they navigate the legal systems that are structured against them. This is significant work to me because it corresponds with my main goal to empower others to advocate for themselves. I look forward to the opportunity to once again connect with my community and provide a form of legal support they are often denied.
Please join us in congratulating these outstanding students on their selection as JHP Public Service Fellows!