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Fearless Children's Lawyer of the Month

Every day, lawyers across the United States represent children in a variety of legal matters including education, child welfare, juvenile justice, and immigration cases. This representation is exceedingly challenging and mostly goes unrecognized. This series will celebrate work from advocacy that results in a system wide change to advocacy that improved the life of one child client. To nominate a lawyer for this series, please contact [email protected].

September 2023—Olga Pribyl

Olga Pribyl loves having a job where she can simultaneously work on behalf of individual children while also engaging in systemic work to tackle problems facing kids across Illinois. As Vice President of the Special Education Clinic and Pro Bono at Equip for Equality, she is responsible for making sure that kids with disabilities across the state can access an education, stay safe, be present, and learn.

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August 2023—Valerie Achille

Valerie Achille, a staff attorney at the national children’s advocacy organization Children’s Rights, believes fiercely in the need to build up and support communities, especially Black communities, and that the status quo of many of our country’s child serving systems is unacceptably harmful to the children and families they are supposed to help.

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July 2023—Cara McClellan

Cara McClellan is a dedicated child advocate who focuses on education equity and combating racial discrimination. Through her work at the ARC Justice Clinic, she employs a community-centered approach that incorporates true movement-lawyering, strategic planning, and non-litigation tactics to address challenges in school discipline and advance civil rights.

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June 2023—Simone Chriss

“Please know that we are fighting for the LGBTQ+ community in Florida!” That is Simone Chriss’ message to LGBTQ+ youth, families, and allies—particularly transgender youth.

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April 2023—Riley Moos

As anyone who works with youth and young adults knows, convincing those in power that the youth know what they want and are in the best position to determine what is in their “best interest” is a constant battle. Riley Moos was inspired to utilize her privilege and legal knowledge to assist youth in gaining access to existing services and ensuring they are given the resources and knowledge necessary to meet their needs in the future.

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March 2023—Laura Belous

Laura Belous, an advocacy attorney at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Tucson, Arizona, uses her skills as a former journalist to weave stories of injustice into the petitions for habeas corpus and the FTCA claims she files on behalf of her child clients to secure their release from illegal immigration detention and to hold the federal government accountable for her clients’ trauma and suffering.

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February 2023—Nickole Miller

As director of the Children’s Rights Clinic and Middleton Center for Children’s Rights at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa, Nickole Miller is passionate about training the next generation of fearless lawyers, and she focuses her practice and teaching on improving legal representation and outcomes for children and youth in the juvenile justice, child welfare, and immigration systems.

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January 2023—Jenny Pokempner

While stereotypes, cultural narratives, and misunderstandings about adolescent development often drive people to their lowering expectations for teenagers, Jenny Pokempner has a different vision, and that vision is clear: Decision and policy makers must see the potential of each young adult, treat them with care, respond to them while understanding child and adolescent development, invest in opportunities for them, and above all, seek to ensure they are connected with families and caring adults who can provide what systems cannot.

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