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DePaul Law student Mulligan receives Women's Bar Foundation scholarship

DePaul Law student Lark Mulligan is honored at a Women's Bar Foundation Scholarship Reception
Pictured from left: Shaye Loughlin, executive director of DePaul's Center for Public Interest Law; Jennifer Rosato Perea, dean of DePaul University College of Law; Lark Mulligan, recipient of the Women's Bar Foundation scholarship; Sue (Lee) Pak, JD '16; and Terrie Sullivan, JD candidate '17.

DePaul University College of Law student Lark Mulligan is one of nine recipients this year to receive the Women's Bar Foundation scholarship award. For over a half century, the Women's Bar Foundation has provided scholarships to exceptional female Illinois law students for their outstanding educational and professional accomplishments, as well as their dedication to aiding their communities. Winners were celebrated at a luncheon in October, which also honored Andrea Zopp, deputy mayor of the city of Chicago, for her professional and philanthropic achievements.

I feel honored to receive this award as a queer transgender woman, as a feminist and as a prison abolition activist,” said Mulligan. I want to be a lawyer because the U.S. is experiencing an urgent crisis of hyperpolicing and mass incarceration of poor people of color. 

As a prison abolitionist, Mulligan advocates on behalf of “dismantling systems of incarceration, surveillance and policing” and creating “a world that has no need for prisons or police by addressing the root causes of violence, inequality and oppression in our communities.” She promotes alternative solutions such as community-building and empowerment, reparations, healing and restorative practices, open dialogue, accessible and affordable healthcare and food justice.

Mulligan also performs as a collective member and board member with the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois. Founded in 2008, this group provides legal services to low-income transgender and gender nonconforming people. With this organization, she drafted Transgender 101 for Judges in the Civil Division,” which has educated judges about gender identity and the importance of allowing transgender persons to change their names as a crucial step in claiming their true identity. Since 2010, its Name Change Mobilization project has enabled more than 500 transgender people to change their name. She has filed grievances with Cook County Jail on behalf of transgender individuals who face rampant abuse at its institutions and cocreated a re-entry support program for transgender women following their released from prison. She also publishes the 'zine Hidden Expressions,' which features the writing, artwork and guidance of transgender prisoners. Along with her responsibilities at the Transformative Law Project of Illinois, she interns at Cabrini Green Legal Aid where she handles criminal records relief, such as expungement and clemency, and performs criminal defense.

After law school, Mulligan plans to continue providing holistic legal guidance to criminalized transgender people in Chicago. Other accolades Mulligan has earned include winning the Pro Bono Publico Award in 2015 and being named one of the Windy City Times' 30 Under 30 in 2013. ​