ABA Journal

Members Who Inspire

54 ABA Journal Members Who Inspire articles.

‘Lucky in Life’: Emily Feinstein creates opportunities for others through pro bono and hockey

“I always say I have been so lucky in life,” Emily Feinstein says. “I was lucky that my dad married my mom, because that relationship provided me with so many opportunities that would not have otherwise been available—the ability to go to college and the belief that I was obviously going to law school. I don’t think that would have been ingrained in me. And so being able to take what I have and use it to help others has always been really important.”

Luz Arévalo helps immigrant and low-income clients facing tax problems

Luz Arévalo has spent most of her career helping immigrants and members of other marginalized communities sort through issues with their taxes.

Matt Simpson competed in goalball at his second Paralympics in Tokyo

Matt Simpson was 10 when he attended a sports camp hosted by the United States Association of Blind Athletes in North Carolina and discovered goalball, a sport developed in 1946 to help rehabilitate World War II veterans. He has since competed at the sport’s highest level, playing on the U.S. men’s national team that won the silver medal at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro and representing the United States again at the delayed 2020 Games in Tokyo last summer.

Darryl Wilson shares love of cooking with others during COVID-19 pandemic

Darryl Wilson, an in-house attorney at Tyson Foods in Springdale, Arkansas, has used cooking as a form of therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic. He launched his own Instagram account, where he regularly posts photos of his dishes, and taught two virtual cooking classes to members of the ABA Young Lawyers Division. “We always have to find things that make us happy and that are fulfilling or rewarding to us,” he says. “Mine just happens to be cooking.”

Meet 12 ABA members who inspired us in 2021

The ABA Journal regularly profiles exceptional ABA members in its Members Who Inspire series. In the past year, we featured many in the legal field who are encouraging and energizing others with their good work, including advocating for inmates on death row, mentoring prospective law students of African descent and fighting to stop bullying in the workplace.

August Hieber helps create access to legal services for older LGBT adults

August Hieber created Proud to Thrive, the first program in Chicago specifically designed to provide culturally responsive legal advocacy to LGBT older adults. Hieber recognized this population is less likely to access resources because of past experiences with discrimination and worked with the Center for Disability & Elder Law to host legal clinics and train other legal professionals on how to offer services.

David Yamada is fighting to end workplace bullying

“We’re taught to be really good at manipulating language as lawyers, and language is the stock-in-trade of bullying and abuse,” Prof. David Yamada says. “Most of the time, it’s not about physical aggression. It’s about commissions and omissions, I guess you could say, in terms of how people treat one another.”

Judge Neil Axel uses DUI court experience to tackle traffic safety

Judge Neil Axel works with the ABA’s Judicial Outreach Liaison and Judicial Fellows Program. As one of its two judicial fellows, Axel helps educate judges nationwide on issues involving impaired driving offenses, including drug-impaired driving; evidence-based sentencing practices to reduce recidivism; and the impact of the legalization of marijuana on highway safety. He also works closely with the program’s nine regional JOLs and 22 state JOLs, all of whom provide training and support on impaired driving and other highway safety issues to courts in their areas.

Law student Emily Dillan is an advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence

Emily Dillan went to the University of Massachusetts School of Law hoping to help survivors of domestic violence in her community, but through a new opportunity with the ABA, she could soon extend her advocacy across the country.

Tara Isa Koslov brings passion for antitrust law to the ABA

As a kid growing up in Brooklyn, Koslov thought she might pursue a career in journalism. That changed after Koslov saw a gunman shoot and wound her father as they walked together near their home in 1983. “My dad was such a good writer and communicator, but he was not a lawyer, so he was dependent on the lawyers to tell his story,” she says. “I thought, ‘I like to speak, and I love to write. Maybe I need to focus my skills in that direction instead.’”

Meet a health justice advocate working to prevent evictions during COVID-19 pandemic

Since March 2020, Emily Benfer has focused on tracking eviction moratoria, researching the effects of COVID-19 evictions on racial health equity and advocating for interventions to help provide communities hardest hit by the pandemic with financial support and legal protections. “Racial, housing and health justice are inseparable,” Benfer says. “Justice in any of these areas requires justice in all of them.”

Could international animal rights laws prevent the next pandemic? Rajesh Reddy has a plan

“You can be vigilant in how you work to prevent zoonotic diseases and spillovers from different species, but that doesn’t help you if your neighbors aren’t following the same rules and protocols,” says Rajesh Reddy.

Brice Ngameni helps support prospective law students of African descent

“We think that one of the biggest challenges that people from our background face when applying to law school is access and information, and these are things that can be addressed,” says Brice Ngameni, president and co-founder of Pembe, a mentoring group for people of African descent. “If you just have the right people matched up with the right folks, you can easily make up for that disparity.”

Kelley Henry is a champion for death row inmates

For ABA member Kelley Henry, advocating for people on death row isn’t just a job. She wants to help fix what she sees as a broken system, and she loves the Constitution. “I see myself as someone who is defending the Sixth Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, the 14th Amendment, because if you say it’s OK to violate those rights because you just don’t like my guys, then your rights are next,” she says. “There are ways in which lawyers are part of that system of checks and balances. We’re a check on the government’s power.”

Amy Breihan has dedicated her career to helping juvenile lifers seek parole

It’s been nearly nine years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory life without parole for juveniles violates the Eighth Amendment. It’s been five years since it held in Montgomery v. Louisiana that its 2012 decision was retroactive. In that time, Amy Breihan has helped seek second chances for prisoners in Missouri who were younger than age 18 when they were sentenced to life behind bars.

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