His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress. In the Spring of 2020, in Celebration of the 55th Anniversary of this life-altering event, LSA began a national search for the first John Lewis Fellows, resulting in 6 law students from across the country committed to providing free legal assistance to individuals in underserved and underrepresented communities to ensure Equal and Social Justice for all citizens in Alabama.
The initial goal of the proposal was to provide legal and social justice services to the Blackbelt and the Wiregrass citizens. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the myriad of legal issues surrounding the virus, along with the increasing social justice issues across the country, we opted to use COVID-19 funding to combat these issues, therefore, the first year of fellows provided services and support throughout the entire state. The goal of the John Lewis Legal Services Fellowship Program remains to train recent law graduates who have an interest in Rural Economic Justice for a career in public interest and social justice law to provide social, economic and legal change; while working on legal issues that will improve the quality of life for low-income individuals. In addition to training the fellows, we are also providing the fellows a glimpse into the life and work of Congressman Lewis, through a speaker’s series and tours that travel in the Congressman’s footsteps in Alabama. As the country continues to mourn this giant of a man, we are humbled to honor his legacy and work through the LSA John Lewis Legal Services Fellowship Program.
Danielle Cassells joins the LSA Huntsville office by way of South Carolina. She brings with her a wealth of law clerking experience from various entities, including the Richland County Public Defender’s Office, South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and the Carolina Health Advocacy and Medicolegal Partnership (CHAMPS) Clinic. She has also volunteered her time to act as guardian ad litem for Richland County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in Columbia, SC. Cassells is passionate about serving marginalized people and honored to continue the legacy of Congressman Lewis in her role as a fellow.
Kiera Johnson comes to the LSA Selma office after several years in New Orleans, where she completed her legal education. While living in New Orleans she completed an externship with the Innocence Project New Orleans and summer clerkships in the Domestic Division of the Orleans Civil District Court and at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. She also spent an academic year serving in Tulane Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic. When not engaged in legal work, Johnson enjoys volunteering at a cat rescue and fostering adoptable cats. She is excited to support and empower clients through her fellowship.
Zachary “Zack” Roman is joining LSA as the John Lewis Fellow in the Mobile office. He has former legal experience working as a clerk at personal injury firm the Keches Law Group in Massachusetts, as well as clerking with the LSA Mobile office, at which he currently works. Roman looks forward to getting involved with his community and finding ways to contribute outside of his budding legal career. He is excited to be a part of the fellowship program and for the opportunity to champion the social justice causes to which Congressman Lewis dedicated his life and career.