Third year law student Nejla Calvo was recently selected to receive a prestigious fellowship from Equal Justice Works, the nation’s premier nonprofit focused on placing attorneys in public interest law opportunities. Each year the Equal Justice Works fellowship competition selects qualified and passionate lawyers who have developed new and innovative legal projects that can impact lives and serve communities in desperate need of legal assistance. Calvo will do her fellowship at Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc.
The two-year fellowship, set to begin in September 2015, will allow Calvo to help residents in Miami mobile home parks to protect their rights to affordable, safe, sanitary, and habitable housing. “I look forward to working with the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center to create volunteer opportunities for Miami Law students to get involved with mobile home park advocacy through know-your-rights trainings, client intakes, and park surveys,” said Calvo. “Ultimately, this project will provide a community lawyering advocacy model that can be replicated in mobile home parks throughout Miami-Dade County, Florida at large, and on the national level.”
Born in Bolivia, Calvo came to the United States at a young age. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with minors in Spanish and Philosophy at Middlebury College. A third-year law student, she is currently a Miami Public Interest Scholar and HOPE Public Interest Fellow at Miami Law. She is also a member of the Charles C. Papy Moot Court Board, the Articles & Comments Editor for the Race and Social Justice Law Review, Research Assistant to Professor Jennifer Hill, Director of Equity Playhouse, and President of the Society of Bar & Gavel. Calvo’s commitment to public service earned her “Law Student of the Year” by Lawyers to the Rescue this year.
"I am so grateful for this opportunity and I cannot wait to get started on my mobile home park advocacy project,” said Calvo. “I appreciate that the Equal Justice Works Fellowship selection committee recognizes the vital need to empower marginalized mobile home park residents, and I am incredibly fortunate to have the support of Equal Justice Works as its first ever staff-selected Fellow. I very much look forward to working with the experienced attorneys at Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., especially Jeffrey Hearne and Evian White."
Instead of matching Calvo’s project with a sponsor organization, EJW itself is serving as her sponsor. Usually, EJW matches projects with sponsor organizations that provide funding for the project, such as large law firms or state bar foundations. For the first time ever, the staff of EJW handpicked the project – Calvo’s -- that they wanted to fund directly (there were 20 semi-finalists in the running for the staff-selected Fellow). “I am so thrilled that Nejla has been selected as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and will be working with Legal Services of Greater Miami,” said Marni Lennon, Assistant Dean for Public Interest and Pro Bono & Director of the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center. “She is an exceptionally dedicated, driven and compassionate advocate, and has been unwavering in her leadership and commitment to public interest as a Miami Scholar.”
Calvo joins a long tradition of Miami Law graduates who have been selected as Equal Justice Works Fellows.