Jay Diaz, Vermont Poverty Law Fellow, 2012-2014

Jay Diaz, Vermont Poverty Law Fellow 2012-2014James (Jay) Diaz is a 2012 graduate of Boston College Law School, where he was the Lois & James Champy Fellow and recipient of the Robert S. Pitcoff Memorial Scholarship.

Before law school, Jay worked as a paralegal in the New York litigation department of Shearman & Sterling LLP where he was repeatedly recognized for his pro bono work with the Legal Aid Society of New York, several immigrant rights organizations, and the Conservation Law Foundation.

During law school, Jay completed summer internships with the Boston College Legal Assistance Bureau and National Consumer Law Center. He also worked as a full-year clinician with Boston College’s Immigration and Asylum Project, spent a “semester in practice” as a law clerk with Rhode Island Legal Services, and served as a part-time intern with the US Department of Labor.

As a Poverty Law Fellow, Jay focused on promoting educational access, stability, and equity for Vermont’s low-income children. He provided direct legal assistance to homeless and unaccompanied children, children involved in school-related disciplinary or court proceedings, and children in need of school-based mental health supports.

Jay also formed advice, training, and referral partnerships with low-income advocates across the state. The goal of the partnerships was to increase public awareness of education rights and to help create systemic change to reduce the opportunity gap facing Vermont’s low-income students. Jay acknowledges that “Vermont’s education system ranks among the best in the nation.” But, he says, “many low-income children face unique challenges that prevent them from succeeding in school. We must do more to support disadvantaged students and close the opportunity gap.”

Today, Jay works as a staff attorney and public advocate for the Vermont Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Jay’s Thank You Letter to Donors

Kicked Out! (Publication by Jay Diaz)

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