- National Center for Youth Law - https://youthlaw.org -

At the Center — Apr-June 2009

(l to r) Maria Segarra, Laurie M. Furstenfeld, Franchesca Gonzalez, Davida Silverman, Charles Taylor, Jessica Breslin, Thomas Carroll, and Megan Rok. [1]

(l to r) Maria Segarra, Laurie M. Furstenfeld, Franchesca Gonzalez, Davida Silverman, Charles Taylor, Jessica Breslin, Thomas Carroll, and Megan Rok.

Jessica Breslin has completed her second year at Georgetown University Law Center.  She is a section editor for the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law and is active with the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.  Jessica earned her undergraduate degree from the Silver School of Social Work at NYU, double majoring in politics.  Last summer, she worked at First Star, a child advocacy organization in Washington, DC, where she researched and helped draft a report on a child’s right to counsel.  Prior to law school, Jessica worked in counseling services at the Domestic Violence Bureau of the District Attorney’s office in Kings County, NY, providing individual counseling and group therapy session for victims of domestic violence.  At NCYL, Jessica is working with Senior Attorney Rebecca Gudeman on mental health, domestic violence, and foster care issues.  This includes researching and analyzing local court rules and orders regarding health assessments, information sharing, and administration of psychotropic medication.  Jessica also works with Staff Attorney Bryn Martyna, conducting legal research supporting NCYL’s Clark K .v. Willden litigation to reform the Las Vegas child welfare system.  In her free time, Jessica enjoys playing football and making “gourmet” meals, such as Easy Mac and “cereal a la milk.”

Thomas Carroll is an undergraduate Communications Intern.  He is working with Communications Director Tracy Schroth on the implementation of California’s 2008 child fatality disclosure law, SB 39, which NCYL co-sponsored.  He also contributes to Youth Law News.  Thomas is a senior at Haverford College, majoring in classical literature and minoring in Physics (quantum mechanics).  He studies and reads both Latin and Ancient Greek, in addition to speaking Spanish and Italian.  Thomas has previously interned at 88.9 WDNA, a public radio station in his native Miami, and at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, researching endangered native plant populations.  He writes for The Bi-College News, the student newspaper at Haverford College, and is president of the school’s Origami Club.  Upon graduation, Thomas hopes to pursue a career combining journalism and social justice.

Laurie M. Furstenfeld is a student at UC Davis School of Law, where she has completed her first year.  Prior to law school, Laurie worked as a school social worker in the Counseling Enriched Special Day Class Program at the Oakland Unified School District, assessing mental health needs of middle-school students and providing individual, group, and family therapy.  She holds a Masters of Social Welfare from UC Berkeley.   While studying there, Laurie worked on a research project to identify obstacles facing foster youth enrolling in school, and educated school officials on how to maintain foster youth school records.  Laurie is working with attorney Fiza Quraishi on improving access to mental health care for children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Laurie enjoys traveling and summer barbecues with friends.

Franchesca Gonzalez is a third-year student at Berkeley Law, where she is Co-Director of Advocates for Youth Justice.  She is also Public Interest Career Support Coordinator for La Raza Law Student’s Association, and has served as Co-Director of the Expulsion Representation Clinic.  Franchesca is a member of the City of Berkeley’s All City Equity Task Force, a planning group devoted to closing the achievement gap in Berkeley schools.  This past year, Francesca clerked at Legal Services for Children in San Francisco, where she assisted with cases involving school discipline, special education, and dependency issues.  Last summer, she worked as a judicial extern for the Hon. Michael Nash, Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court in her native Los Angeles.  Franchesca earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from UC Berkeley.  At NCYL, Franchesca is working with Senior Attorney Bill Grimm on Clark K. v. Willden.  Her work includes investigating the placement experiences of foster youth and assisting with the development of protocols to address and improve mental health.

Megan Rok is entering her second year at University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she is a Toll Public Interest Scholar.  Megan is active with the Marshall Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, the Penn Housing Rights Project, and Lambda Law.  She recently competed in the 2009 National Moot Court on Sexual Orientation Law at UCLA. Prior to entering law school, Megan taught high school science for three years in New Orleans through Teach for America. There, Megan organized and chaired her school’s Substance Abuse Prevention Education program.  Megan received her undergraduate degree in political science from Vassar College.  While in college, she participated in the World Universities Debating Championship Tournament in Singapore.  Megan also interned for US Senator Jack Reed in her home state of Rhode Island, and spent a summer assisting the Chief of Policy for Providence Mayor David Cicilline.  Megan is working with NCYL Deputy Director Patrick Gardner, conducting legal research in support of litigation to improve children’s access to mental health services in California and Washington. She is also assisting with NCYL’s Mental Health Court Initiative.  Megan is an avid potter and a die-hard Red Sox fan.

Maria Segarra is a third-year student at Berkeley Law.  She is a member of the California Law Review, and serves as the Professional Chair of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association there.  For the past two years she has participated in the school’s Juvenile Hall Outreach program, where she teaches detained minors their legal rights.  Last summer, Maria clerked at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office in the Juvenile Division.  Prior to law school, Maria interned at the Child Protection Section of the Office of the Attorney General in Washington, DC.  Maria received her undergraduate degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz, graduating with highest honors.  She loves to play the guitar and sing.  This summer, Maria is working with senior attorneys Pat Arthur and Leecia Welch, conducting legal research on juvenile justice issues and on procedural and substantive laws relating to Clark K. v. Willden.

Davida Silverman
has completed her second year at CUNY School of Law. She received first Place and Best Oralist in the 2008 CUNY School of Law Moot Court Competition.  She co-founded the law school’s Organization of Women Law Students and is an active member of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, and the Domestic Violence Coalition.  Last summer, she received an Emory University Summer Child Advocate Program Fellowship to research issues related to Georgia’s child welfare system and the sexual exploitation of children.  Davida has also interned with the ACLU of Mississippi, drafting legislation for comprehensive sexual health education in that state’s public schools.  As an undergrad, Davida majored in political science at Florida State University.  She served as executive director of the university’s Women’s Center, and helped organize a campaign with the United Students Against Sweatshops organization.  Davida works with Senior Attorney Rebecca Gudeman on adolescent health law and policy, and with Staff Attorney Bryn Martyna on the Clark K. litigation.  Davida aspires to one day complete the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in ink.  In the meantime, she is keeping herself busy with the Jumble and Sudoku.

Charles Taylor has completed his first year at Yale Law School, where he is an editor for Arguendo, Yale Law and Policy Review’s online companion. He holds a BA in Legal Studies from UC Berkeley, with a minor in African-American studies. Charles spent two summers interning with Neighborhood Legal Services in Los Angeles, where he helped pro se litigants gain access to legal information and file legal forms.  In addition, Charles volunteered for the JusticeCorps program, working at an Oakland-based legal clinic assisting low-income litigants in housing, small claims, and family law.  While an undergraduate, Charles was also active at the Berkeley Technology Academy, an alternative school for at-risk youth, and at the International Human Rights Law Clinic at Berkeley Law School, where he performed a research study of former Guantánamo Bay detainees. Charles is working with attorney Leecia Welch and Jesse Hahnel on foster youth education issues.

Eva Paterson of Equal Justice Society Kicks Off NCYL’s Summer Seminar Series

Eva Patterson

Eva Patterson

Eva Paterson, founder and president of the Equal Justice Society in San Francisco, urged an audience of 60 summer law clerks and interns to never underestimate their power to affect social change.

Kicking off NCYL’s 2009 summer law clerk seminar series in June, Paterson stressed the immense and urgent need for public interest advocacy and encouraged her audience of college and law students to pursue public interest careers. The students, from schools across the country, are all spending the summer working at both public interest and private firms in the Bay Area.

Paterson stressed the important role law students played in the strategic litigation that led to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education. She briefly described the history of Brown, explaining that the Court’s decision was the result of an extensive and prolonged litigation strategy. Paterson said law students played a key role in shaping and implementing that strategy through extensive research and other means.

Paterson said that bright, passionate law students and a well-conceived litigation strategy will be needed to tackle one of the next major civil rights issues, addressed in Washington v. Davis. In Washington, the Court rejected disparate impact analysis for civil rights claims, which allowed plaintiffs to challenge practices that were not intended to discriminate, but which had a discriminatory effect. This change in law has severely hindered advocates’ ability to challenge systemic racism that is not demonstrably intentional, but nonetheless has a racially discriminatory effect.

Paterson, who spoke at Bingham McCutchen in San Francisco, headlined the first of 8 lunchtime seminars hosted by NCYL. The series, which is in its 20th year, features guest speakers from around the Bay Area on a range of legal topics.

Founded by Eva Paterson in 2003, the Equal Justice Society engages in political activism and legal advocacy on civil rights issues at the local, state, and national levels. Paterson graduated from Berkeley Law (then known as Boalt Hall) with NCYL Director John O’Toole.

Frankie Guzman Admitted to UCLA School of Law

Frankie Guzman [2]

Frankie Villaseñor Guzman, NCYL’s Assistant to the Director for the past two years, has been admitted to the UCLA School of Law and the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy.

He is one of 25 students selected to participate in the program out of more than 500 applicants. The Epstein Program is among the nation’s most innovative and successful law school public interest programs, preparing students to represent traditionally underserved clients and interests. Frankie will be joining the Class of 2012 this August.

Congratulations, Frankie!! We will miss you!