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Maura Hallisey L’20

Maura is an aspiring public defender who seeks to disrupt a system of mass incarceration while imagining a world that operates beyond a punishment paradigm. She is a graduate of Connecticut College, where she majored in Sociology and Film Studies and received a certificate in Public Policy. While in college, Maura began organizing with community groups around issues of police brutality and state-sanctioned violence. Maura then spent four years immersing herself in the historical roots of social justice issues as a program coordinator at the Stowe Center, an abolitionist history museum with a social justice mission. She coordinated a weekly conversation series on current events and conducted trainings on how to facilitate political and social justice focused conversations in museum spaces.  

At Penn Law, she is Co-President of the Pardon Project, a pro bono initiative that works with individuals seeking pardons for criminal convictions. Maura is also Associate Editor of the Journal of Law and Social Change, the pro bono coordinator of Lambda Law, and Auction Chair of the Equal Justice Foundation. During her 1L summer she served as a legal intern for the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, an organization that represents incarcerated individuals on constitutional claims. As an intern, Maura conducted legal research, drafted briefs, and coordinated letter correspondence with incarcerated clients. Through this internship Maura reckoned with the harm prison causes individuals, families, and communities, and solidified her commitment to abolitionist lawyering.