Tracie Johnson is a recipient of the 2018 Equal Justice Works Fellowship, one of the most prestigious and competitive post-graduate fellowships in the country. Tracie will be hosted at Community Legal Services Inc., where she will represent and advocate for young women of color with criminal records to increase access to meaningful employment opportunities and fight intergenerational poverty. She is sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

Johnson’s professors and mentors expressed pride, but not surprise, at her success. Professor Jennifer Lee and Professor Colleen Shanahan, co-directors of the Sheller Center for Social Justice, where Johnson was a standout student in two clinics: Social Justice Lawyering and Justice Lab, describe her as an “extraordinary advocate with a facility for thinking broadly about systemic issues while still caring about individual clients.” Her mentor at the Juvenile Law Center, where she gained additional clinical experience, says she is a “star with a passion for social justice advocacy,” and her colleagues at Community Legal Services, in nominating her for a law student public interest award, echoed that praise while calling her “deeply empathetic, creative in her advocacy, and positively engaged with everyone she encounters.” That nomination was successful: the Philadelphia Bar Association recently recognized Johnson with the 2017 Law Student Public Interest Award.

Equal Justice Works

Founded by law students in 1986, Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. The Equal Justice Works Fellowships programs fund hundreds of public interest attorneys each year to close the justice gap on issues such as foreclosure, community economic development, immigration, civil rights, homelessness, access to healthcare, and domestic violence. These Fellows have a lasting impact well beyond their fellowship. More than 85% of fellows continue doing public interest work after their fellowship ends.

Each year, Equal Justice Works selects a class of passionate public interest lawyers who have designed innovative projects in conjunction with nonprofit legal services organizations to respond to unmet legal needs in their communities. Equal Justice Works Fellows have represented thousands of adults, children, and families in need in communities across the country. This year, 67 new lawyers were selected for the two-year Fellowship.