Maximize legal resources for underserved communities in Chicago by uniting lawyers and activists in a collaborative pursuit for social change.
Community Activism Law Alliance (CALA) uses a model of community activism lawyering to unite lawyers and activists to collaboratively help underserved communities access justice and pursue social change. Through these partnerships, CALA creates activism-law clinics within and by Chicago communities with the highest rates of poverty and crime. They provide free legal services to undocumented immigrants, laborers, and sex workers, while supporting their partners’ grassroots activism for greater, empowered, and more durable impact than what lawyers, and the law, alone could achieve. CALA hopes to change how attorneys and activists nationwide work for and with communities.
Lam Nguyen Ho is executive director of the Community Activism Law Alliance, for which he received a Harvard Public Service Venture Fund grant. As a Skadden Fellow, he established ten community-based free legal clinics in Chicago – experiencing firsthand the challenges of community lawyering and legal aid. Lam also worked at Equip for Equality, where he defended the rights of people with disabilities. At Harvard, he was president of the Legal Aid Bureau, the oldest student-run legal services organization in the country; founded a community lawyering program for low-income women activists; was an editor for the Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review; and completed over 3,000 pro-bono hours, for which he won several awards. Lam served as a research and teaching assistant, and helped to create a community-lawyering-focused poverty law curriculum. He is a graduate of Brown University’s four-year combined MA/AB program, and Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar and Sub-Dean of Wadham College. He is also a graduate of Harvard Law School. Lam was appointed by former Governor Quinn as Chairperson of Illinois’ HIV/AIDS Response Review Panel.
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