Skip to main content

Advancing Civil Rights

Civil Rights Profiles

The continuation of decades of tireless work, current civil rights efforts are alive throughout the country — with women marching en masse for gender equity, people of every background protesting against anti-Black police violence, and LGBTQ+ advocates mobilizing to advance legal protections. The fight for a fairer, more just society surges on. At the center of these movements stand many Law School alumni from Penn. Every week, we post a new profile to shine a light on the important work some of these graduates.

Lauren Davis L’21 advocates for safe and healthy housing in Philadelphia through Independence Fellowship

After college, Lauren worked as a paralegal at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, which inspired her to attend law school.

Margaret Zhang L’15 advocates for pregnancy and lactation rights at the Women’s Law Project

Zhang’s own experience of attempting to obtain lactation accommodations to take the bar exam helped inspire her career path.

Rekha Nair L’12 named Executive Director of the Phoenix Legal Action Network

For Rekha Nair L’12, standing alongside a person as they navigate the American immigration system offers something powerful: unity in a world of separation.

Dwayne Bensing GED’09, L’12: From Philadelphia public school teacher to civil rights advocate

Dwayne Bensing GED’09, L’12 is a Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Delaware focusing on policy advocacy.

Public interest fellows to advocate for civil and criminal justice worldwide

Upon graduation, eighteen 2021 graduates will pursue important and diverse public interest work with the support of prestigious fellowship funding.

Fellowship experience: Haley Pritchard L’20

Haley Pritchard L’20 is a Langer, Grogan, & Diver Legal Fellow with the Pennsylvania ACLU.

Damon Hewitt L’00 named President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Hewitt continues the Law School’s historic connection to the Lawyers’ Committee that dates back to the organization’s founding in 1963 under President John F. Kennedy.

Mira Baylson L’08 balances her Big Law billables with a parallel pro bono workload

Mira Baylson L’08 built a strong foundation of pro bono service during her time at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, where she worked on prisoner education and reproductive rights student pro bono projects.

Kat Welbeck L?14

Kat Welbeck L’14, Civil Rights Counsel at the Student Borrower Protection Center, tackles racial equity in student loan debt

At the SBPC, Kat Welbeck L’14 works with researchers to create reports that help articulate the ways in which racial and economic justice should play into conversations about student loan debt policy.

Deuel Ross

Deuel Ross L’09 says facts are on the side of expanding voting rights

Ross co-led the team in People First of Alabama v. Merrill, which had a direct effect on Alabama voters’ accessibility to absentee voting in 2020.

Cynthia Soohoo

Cynthia Soohoo L’92 works to make human rights an American value

Soohoo is a professor of law and co-director of the Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law.