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Lelabari Giwa-Ojuri L’20 awarded prestigious 2020 Equal Justice Works Fellowship

May 21, 2020

Giwa-Ojuri was selected as a recipient of the EJW Fellowship from a pool of over 430 applicants.

Lelabari Giwa-Ojuri L’20, sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP, has been awarded the 2020 Equal Justice Works Fellowship, one of the most prestigious and competitive post-graduate fellowships in the country. Giwa-Ojuri, who was a Toll Public Interest Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, will be a fellow at Community Legal Services (CLS), where she will pilot a participatory family defense project to help parents who are current or former foster youth keep custody of their children.

Each year, Equal Justice Works (EJW) selects a class of passionate public service leaders who have designed two-year projects in partnership with legal services organizations to help build sustainable solutions in the communities where they serve. These projects are funded by the generous support of law firms, corporations, foundations, and individuals. This year, 78 new public interest lawyers were selected from over 430 applicants.

“Lelabari’s commitment to tackling the cycle of intergenerational poverty and child welfare involvement is incredibly inspiring,” said Mia Sussman, director of Fellowships at Equal Justice Works. “We are honored to support her efforts to keep families together and look forward to seeing the impact of her Equal Justice Works Fellowship.”

Some of the Law School courses that Giwa-Ojuri cites as influential in her studies include “Reproductive Justice,” taught by George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights Dorothy E. Roberts, and “Prosecution and Defense in the 21st Century,” co-taught by Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and Chief Defender Keir Bradford-Grey of the Defender Association of Philadelphia.

Giwa-Ojuri also praised experiences with the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic with Practice Professor of Law Kara Finck and in the pro bono Youth Advocacy Project sponsored by the Youth Sentencing & Reentry (YSRP) with Joanna Visser Adjoian, Lauren Fine, and Emily Robb.

Giwa-Ojuri is a native of Los Angeles, CA and received her undergraduate degree in political science from Princeton University.

Founded in 1986, Equal Justice Works is a nonprofit organization that brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, legal services organizations, and supporters to promote a lifelong commitment to public service and equal justice.

The Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC) is the hub of public service at the Law School. For over 30 years, the public service program at Penn Law has required every student to complete 70 hours of pro bono work prior to graduation. Through TPIC pro bono projects, students like Giwa-Ojuri are able to hone their advocacy skills and gain valuable experience throughout law school. This work, combined with clinics and classes, enables students to hit the ground running as they set off on impactful public interest careers.

Read more about the Law School’s commitment to public service.