Tell us a little about yourself and the educational or career path you took to get to where you are now?
I love the work I do! I went into law school knowing that I wanted to do social justice work, but wasn't sure exactly what that would be. After a series of internships, I knew what I *didn't* want to do (namely, litigation). I took a community economic development (CED) clinic in my final year and found my passion in working with communities and groups.
After law school, I started in the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center, where I worked on transactional matters for groups organizing towards systemic changes. I had the opportunity to teach in various CED clinics for a number of years before coming back to the Community Development Project to supervise attorneys working with non-profits, cooperatives and other grassroots organizations.
What specifically drew you to working with social enterprises and democratically-led organizations, such as cooperatives?
While my colleagues down the hall from me toiled away on wage-and-hour cases where employers had cheated workers out of wages and had inflicted other abuses on their workers, I was drawn to a model of business that sought to curb those practices, namely worker cooperatives. Workers running their own businesses and setting the terms and conditions of their own work represented the flip side, and a possible solution, to worker injustice. Also, my work early on focused on low-wage, immigrant workers, an especially vulnerable population for whom cooperatives hold even more potential for just work and worker control.
What do you find to be the most challenging about being a lawyer [or law student, legal apprentice, or other legal professional]?
Aside from the challenge of working within a system that often does not favor vulnerable populations, functioning "in the grey" can be challenging.... Continue Reading