Gulino ’21 Awarded Equal Justice Fellowship

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05.12.21 — Lucie Gulino ’21 has been awarded an Equal Justice Works (EJW) Fellowship, one of the most prestigious and competitive post-graduate legal fellowships in the country. Gulino is among only 77 fellows selected from over 466 applicants for the 2021 program, which pairs aspiring public interest lawyers with legal services organizations so that they can work on a two-year project of their own design.

The Project
Gulino (she/her/hers) will launch a first-of-its kind clemency and family support project focused on holistic advocacy and outreach to lower-income Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) in Boston through direct representation, a public awareness campaign, and collaboration with community organizations.

In Massachusetts, clemency—whether in the form of pardon or commutation—is a critical tool that enables the Governor to retroactively combat the detrimental impacts of the criminal justice system, which include the disproportionate incarceration of BIPOC and QTPOC. Over the past few decades and in the wake of the “War on Drugs,” the number of clemency grants, particularly in the form of commutation, has dwindled: in 2020, there were more than 100 petitioners seeking commutation with only one successful petitioner. Clemency petitioners often cannot access legal representation at all because there is no right to counsel in the clemency process and there is a dearth of attorneys available to provide pro bono representation.

Fellowship Plans
Gulino will start a clemency pro bono clinic housed in the CORI & Re-entry Project at Greater Boston Legal Services that will provide legal assistance and representation to people seeking clemency. Contact with families and support networks is often critical to future successful clemency petitions. Gulino will host community meetings and “Know Your Rights” events to help people stay connected to their loved ones who are incarcerated. To address systemic reform,  Gulino will combat the unfavorable view of clemency among the Governor, Governor’s Council, and Parole Board in Massachusetts by engaging in a public education campaign that raises awareness about the potential to reimagine clemency as a tool for racial justice.

“Movement work grounded in abolition and redistribution of power is what creates long-term and sustainable change, but community-based legal advocacy is an essential way to mitigate the immediate violence the criminal justice system enacts upon BIPOC and QTPOC,” said Gulino.

“We are thrilled that Equal Justice Works and the Vertex Foundation chose to support Lucie’s important work advocating for marginalized communities in Massachusetts. At Greater Boston Legal Services, Lucie will join a strong group of Northeastern Law graduates fighting for clients and creating systemic change,” said Director for Public Interest and Government Renay Frankel ’06.

 

About Equal Justice Works

Equal Justice Works is the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law and brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, legal services organizations and supporters to promote a lifelong commitment to public service and equal justice. Following their fellowships, more than 85% of EJW Fellows remain in public service positions, continuing to pursue equal justice for underserved communities across the country.

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences. All students participate in full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 1,500 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.