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Pokempner’s public interest career began before law school as a paralegal for the Legal Aid Bureau in Baltimore. She expanded her commitment to the needs of the poor and under-served while at Penn, working for Penn’s Guild Food Stamp Clinic as both an advocate and a mentor to other students. Additionally, she spent the summers between law school employed at the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Washington, D.C., and at the Juvenile Law Center where she also worked while in law school. It was through her work at the Juvenile Law Center that she conceived of and created the project she will head as a Skadden Fellow in 2001.
NAPIL FELLOWSHIPS FOR EQUAL JUSTICE
The National Association of Public Interest Law (NAPIL) Fellowships for Equal Justice is the nation’s largest postgraduate legal public service fellowship program, supporting nearly 140 fellows in 1999-2000 alone. NAPIL Fellows work with host organizations to advocate for under-served communities in the U.S. and its territories through a variety of approaches, including community legal education and training, organizing, direct service, litigation, transactional work, and administrative or legislative efforts.
Victoria Lopez L’01 was selected as a NAPIL Fellow to work with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Florence, Arizona. Lopez’s project will focus on the special needs of immigrant women in Immigration and Naturalization Services detention. Victoria will provide legal representation, education through “Know Your Rights” presentations, and referral to social, medical, and other services that the women detainees require.
As an active member of Penn’s National Lawyers Guild and Hybrid: The Journal of Law and Social Change, Lopez distinguished herself as an advocate committed to public service. In 2000, Victoria helped to plan and implement the 19th Annual Edward B. Sparer Conference that focused on policing and prisons. Her work both before and during law school focused on the issues she is passionate about and led her to create a women’s project with the Florence Immigrants and Refugee Rights Project. Lopez worked on issues of immigration and services for women, both through direct services and policy work, while in college in her native Chicago. At Penn Law, she continued to work on these issues at the People’s Law Center in Chicago during the summer between her first and second years of law school. During the second summer, she was awarded the National Lawyers Guild’s Haywood Burns Memorial Fellowship to fund her work at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project.
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