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January 09, 2024 MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Bailey K. Sanders

Bailey K. Sanders is an Associate at McDermott Will Emery's D.C. office. She also serves as a CRSJ Council member and Young Lawyers Division Liaison.

Bailey K. Sanders, CRSJ Council Member and Young Lawyers Division Liaison

Bailey K. Sanders, CRSJ Council Member and Young Lawyers Division Liaison

Where are you from? How have your experiences here, or throughout your upbringing, influenced your passions and aspirations today?

I was born in Washington, D.C., but grew up outside of Jackson, Mississippi and lived in the South for most of my life. Growing up in a state with only one abortion clinic (and one constantly under threat) made me hyper aware of how important access to reproductive healthcare is—and how few people could access it even under Roe.

What drives you?

My father once told me that nothing can stop a determined intelligence. I like to think that positive change in society is possible as long as good people are determined to put their minds together, not only to identify where the work needs to be done but how to do it. So, I’m always thinking of about how we can improve as a society, particularly when it comes to promoting gender equality. 

What does social justice mean to you?

My go-to definition of social justice is a basic one: fair and equal treatment of all people in society, regardless of their identity, background, or circumstances.

What do you feel is the greatest challenge to social justice today?

I think there are many challenges facing those seeking social justice today and that we are fighting a multi-pronged battle for fair and equal treatment of all people in society. But I am particularly concerned about the rise of Christian nationalism, a cultural framework that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity with American civic life and which demands that Christianity be privileged by the State. I think the rise of Christian nationalism poses a growing threat to our democracy and the ability of individuals to live their lives free from government overreach. 

What is a piece of advice to give law students and young lawyers that want to make a meaningful impact on civil rights and social justice in today’s world?

Get involved! Find an organization that speaks to your values and offer to volunteer however you can. You will meet people who are just as passionate about the causes you care about and have a greater impact working together. 

What CRSJ project(s) are you working on? Or, what have you undertaken in CRSJ that you found most rewarding to have worked on? Are there any upcoming events or projects you want us all to know about? 

Upon joining the ABA, I promptly signed up for several committees focused on issues I care about, including the Rights of Women Committee and the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee. Through membership in these committees, I have been able to learn more about the various ways in which we can all work to support greater equality in society, and I look forward to contributing to future projects.

What do you do to relax in your spare time?

I am a huge science fiction nerd and love to get immersed in epic world-building series. I will recommend Lois Bujold’s Vorkosigan series to all the other science fiction lovers out there. 

What is one thing most people do not know about you that you feel they should?

With respect to new people I meet, most would not guess I am from the South. Somehow, I grew up in Mississippi without developing a southern accent. 

Bailey K. Sanders

Associate, McDermott Will Emery

Bailey K. Sanders focuses her practice on antitrust matters, including antitrust litigation and compliance and criminal and civil investigations. Her work spans a variety of industries, including healthcare and manufacturing and construction materials. She also maintains an active pro bono practice representing clients in immigration and reproductive rights matters.

Bailey joined McDermott after completing a judicial clerkship under the Honorable Gerald B. Tjoflat of the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

While in law school, Bailey served as chapter leader of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice and as an editor of the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy. As a doctoral student in Political Science at Duke University, she secured a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant. An accomplished researcher and writer, Bailey has published in both peer-reviewed journals and law reviews.