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Three DePaul Law Students Selected for Prestigious Equal Justice Works Fellowships

​​Three DePaul Law students–Morgan Drake, Dominique Mejia and Joseph Garcia–were selected for prestigious Equal Justice Works (EJW) Fellowships this coming fall.   EJW Fellowship candidates can create a fellowship project of their own design or can apply to join an established fellowship program dedicated to serving a specific population or addressing an unmet legal need. Only about 70 students nationwide are awarded EJW fellowships each year, and previous EJW fellows have worked in areas such as community economic development, voting rights and veterans benefits.  

Shaye Loughlin, executive director of DePaul’s Center for Public Interest Law, praises the trio as “the DePaul mission in action.  They are thoughtful, kind and zealous advocates committed to using their law degrees to help those who otherwise would not have access to the justice system.  They have been wonderful members of the public interest law student community and will continue to lead by example and make DePaul proud as alums.”  

Morgan Drake
 Morgan Drake will use her fellowship to aid detained immigrants contending with due process issues. One of the biggest difficulties facing detained immigrants is their ability to obtain representation, which drastically curtails their ability to present their claims and receive successful relief. Hosted by the National Immigrant Justice Center and sponsored by The Ebb Point Foundation, Morgan will represent clients in front of the Board of Immigration Appeals and federal circuit courts. She also will use administrative advocacy, outreach and strategic litigation to bring attention to the chronic infringement of their due process rights with the hopes of bringing about systemic change.  

Dominique Meija
A child of undocumented Mexican immigrants, Dominique Mejia understands the difficulties faced by immigrant populations, particularly youths. Her fellowship will focus on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, a law that provides immigrant youths who have been abandoned, abused or neglected with a pathway to legal status in the United States, saving them from deportation. While federal law makes this protection available to individuals under 21 years old, many states limit it to 18 and under. However, Illinois recently expanded eligibility to those between 18 and 21, and Dominique’s project will raise awareness about the revised law and teach attorneys, judges and youth advocates how to utilize it. She is hosted by the National Immigrant Justice Center and is sponsored by Seyfarth and United.  

Joseph Garcia
Hosted by Legal Aid Chicago and sponsored by the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, Joseph Garcia will dedicate his legal service to workers’ rights and economic justice. His project will provide domestic home health care workers with legal representation and community education related to the new Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. His worker-centered approach also will teach low-income communities how to identify violations related to discrimination, harassment and wage theft, as well as provide know-your-rights materials in different languages and for varying levels of literacy.   

College of Law Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea is “thrilled (though not surprised) that these exemplary students received EJW fellowships, affirming they are among the best public interest law students in the country and well-prepared to make a difference for the clients and communities they serve.” ​