Colleen O’Conor L’20
Colleen pursued a law degree to directly support families resisting evictions and to work toward broader policy changes that guarantee housing for poor and working-class people. At Penn, Colleen is the student director of the Walk-In Legal Assistance Pro Bono, which provides civil legal services to individuals at a weekly meal program. She is also the Managing Editor of the Journal of Law and Social Change.
During the summer of 2021, Colleen represented tenants in eviction proceedings while interning at Legal Action of Wisconsin’s Eviction Defense Project, a court-based program that provides day-of representation. During her 1L summer, Colleen worked at Daniel & Beshara, P.C., a civil rights law firm that represents plaintiffs in affirmative litigation to improve housing conditions and challenge discriminatory housing policies that have a disparate impact on communities of color in Texas. She is currently externing in the Housing Unit at Community Legal Services and previously represented clients in both the Civil Practice Clinic and the Child Advocacy Clinic at Penn Carey Law.
Colleen is originally from Milwaukee, WI, and graduated summa cum laude from Marquette University with a BA in International Affairs. While at Marquette, she was named a Burke Scholar in recognition of her commitment to community building and social justice. From 2012 to 2017, Colleen lived and volunteered at Casa Maria, a Catholic Worker House in Milwaukee that takes in families in need of housing. While there, she helped families secure more permanent housing. Colleen decided to pursue a law degree after repeatedly seeing families lose their homes because they could neither afford market rent nor access state-subsidized housing.