National Center for Youth Law

At the Center

5 Questions with Vic Wiener, NCYL Alumni and Skadden Fellow at Juvenile Law Center

What did you do at NCYL? I was a 2018 Summer Law Clerk in NCYL’s DC Office, working with NCYL Legal Advocacy Attorney Crystal Adams and other staff. One of my main projects was looking at the effects city nuisance ordinances and crime-free housing addendums have on young people and their families. It was an incredible way to explore novel issues in youth law and how laws that aren’t directed at young folks still significantly affect them.

What is your favorite memory from your time at NCYL? What was most memorable about NCYL was how welcoming everyone was. I was a huge fan of former NCYL Senior Directing Attorney Catherine Lhamon. She wrote the guidance for the Department of Education on transgender students’ access to safe facilities in schools. In my job before law school, I worked with Tulsa Public Schools as they created a policy because of the guidance. I couldn’t believe that I was working with people who had dedicated their careers to protecting young people and making sure their rights are recognized and respected. Also, we were always thinking about how to be better. Never being complacent. Always thinking about what more we can do. What more are we still seeing? How is this falling short of what we want to do?

Why is NCYL’s work so impactful today? A strategy that I saw in action at NCYL that makes the work so important and impactful is thinking intentionally about where youth identities and the law intersect and identifying the most marginalized youth within these populations to make sure they are protected. For example, if you address the harms that youth of color with disabilities are experiencing in schools and make sure that their rights are being protected, you will be ensuring that a huge population of youth are getting their needs and services met and you are less likely to leave the most marginalized behind.

How did your time at NCYL influence your path? I’m the first lawyer in my family and my time at NCYL opened a door for me to understand my options and show me the broad range of youth law issues. Also, Crystal helped me a lot by providing feedback on, editing, and talking me through effective legal writing. After my summer at NCYL, I excelled in law school in a way I hadn’t before because I developed stronger legal writing skills thanks to the support of my supervisor. I even eventually became Editor in Chief of the University of Tulsa College of Law’s Law Review.

Why did you choose to donate to NCYL? There are so many reasons. I believe in and respect the work that NCYL does. I also really appreciate the investment that NCYL made in me as a summer intern.