Davis JD/MA ’15 receives two-year Equal Justice Initiative Legal Fellowship
Judea Davis JD/MA ’15 has been awarded a two-year postgraduate fellowship with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala.
The Equal Justice Initiative is a nonprofit law and human rights organization that provides legal assistance to condemned prisoners, children in the criminal justice system, people wrongfully convicted or sentenced, and people facing imprisonment.
The EJI Legal Fellowship promises to engage Davis in an examination of the legal history of racial subordination, exclusion, and segregation as part of a new initiative on race and poverty.
“I’m looking forward to helping facilitate access to justice in poor, communities of color and using legal strategies to improve conditions in these communities,” said Davis, who is pursuing a graduate degree in history along with her JD.
During a 2L summer internship at EJI, Davis worked on projects concerning America’s racial history, including the recently released report titled “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror,” and the “History of Racial Injustice Calendar,” and with current and former inmates on matters relating to incarceration.
EJI Director Bryan Stevenson praised Davis’ work during her internship, which was supported by a Robinson O. Everett Fellowship.
“I think she can build on that work as a young lawyer with our staff,” Stevenson said, noting, in particular, a new project aimed at challenging the nature of racial difference that has emerged in America. “We hope to do meaningful outreach in communities across the South about racial history and racial justice and I believe Judea will add tremendously to that effort.”
Stella Boswell, director of the Office of Public Interest Advising, said that entry-level positions with high-level nonprofits are becoming rare.
“Fellowships in particular, which are a phenomenal launching opportunity for public service work, are hard to get,” Boswell said. “There are not many of them out there as the organizations often lack resources to fully address their core missions.”
While available positions may be competitive, Boswell said she was not surprised that Davis was selected.
“Her work throughout law school, in summer internships, clinics, and community involvement has focused on justice and civil rights, particularly in the criminal law and law enforcement context. Her dedication and passion are what opened this incredible opportunity to her.”