Manne Foundation Gift Creates Fellowships at Disability Independence Group and the Tenants’ Rights Unit of LSGMI


Lesly Pourcely and Mary Miller

Lesly Pourcely & Mary Miller, rising 3Ls

The Manne Family Foundation recently made a gift to the HOPE Fellows Program to support Miami Law students who work within the public sector during the summer advocating on behalf of veterans and individuals and families experiencing poverty. Rising 3Ls Mary Miller and Lesly Pourcely were selected as the inaugural HOPE Manne Fellows. Miller is working at the Disability Independence Group, and Pourcely is a fellow at Legal Services of Greater Miami in the Tenants’ Rights Unit.

“It's truly an honor to be named a HOPE Manne Fellow,” said Miller. “Being a part of the Human Rights Clinic at Miami Law this past year laid bare the inequities in our legal system, and this opportunity to continue to use my legal skills to work with an organization fighting against these inequities is a real gift.“

The Manne Family Foundation was established by Bob and Grace Manne, who have been South Florida residents for over 40 years. The foundation supports organizations that assist the underserved and underrepresented members of the community.

“We established our foundation as a way to give back to the South Florida community,” said Bob Manne, an attorney/mediator who helped found and served as general counsel of the Ultimate Software Group for over 25 years and is currently of counsel to the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff. “The mission of the HOPE Fellowship program is clearly aligned with the goals of the Manne Family Foundation.”

Miller graduated cum laude from the University of Florida in 2019 with a B.A. in International Studies and minors in Spanish and Anthropology. During her 1L summer at Miami Law, she served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens with the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida. As a 2L, she worked on the Right to Food Team within Miami Law’s Human Rights Clinic, where she advocated for the human right to food and other related rights, both globally and in the United States. Miller currently serves as secretary of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association.

“This summer I have been working on a wide range of cases, all dealing with the rights of persons with disabilities,” said Miller. “Although disability rights are basic human rights, these rights are often violated due to prejudice and discrimination. I’m learning something new every day at DIG and I feel very lucky to be able to work on such important cases.”

Pourcely graduated from Florida International University in April 2019 with a degree in criminal justice. During his time there, he participated in Dr. Regina B. Shearn’s Corrections Transition Program, where he assisted inmates in transitioning back to society through workshops on interviewing skills, computer skills, and leadership and accountability skills. Pourcely is a veteran of the U.S. Army, where he was awarded the Parachutist Badge, Army Commendation Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. During his 1L summer at Miami Law, he interned with the Office of the Miami-Dade Public Defender.

“Currently, I'm working on cases where landlords are pursuing evictions toward vulnerable tenants despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium that is in place,” said Pourcely. “It is an honor and a privilege to be given this opportunity by the Manne Family. Actions speak louder than words, and the Manne Family's actions speak volumes regarding their commitment to public service.”

“We are most appreciative of the Manne Family Foundation’s contributions and commitment to providing access to justice for those most marginalized in our community,” said Marni Lennon, assistant dean of public interest & pro bono and director of the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center. “The establishment of the fellowships allows us to provide integral support to agencies serving South Florida and make it possible for our students to continue to follow their passions in public service.”

Read more about Miami Law’s HOPE Public Interest Resource Center

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