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CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Fighting To Protect Voting Rights For All

About this video 

Joanna is a Civil Rights Attorney fighting against voting rights violations. She shares what roles she plays in her job and goes into detail about how she became interested in civil rights. Joanna also offers advice for those wanting to make a positive change in society.

School: Occidental College
Degree: Doctor of Jurisprudence - Film Production
Job Title: Equal Justice Works Fellow

Job Summary: Lawyers

Job Description

Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, or government agencies on legal issues or disputes. Lawyers, also called attorneys, act as both advocates and advisors. As advocates, they represent one of the parties in criminal and civil trials by presenting evidence and arguing in court to support their client. As advisors, lawyers counsel their clients about their legal rights and obligations and suggest courses of action in business and personal matters. All attorneys research the intent of laws and judicial decisions and apply the laws to the specific circumstances that their clients face.

On-the-Job Training

None

Additional Info

Becoming licensed as a lawyer is called being "admitted to the bar" and licensing exams are called "bar exams."

To practice law in any state, a person must be admitted to its bar under rules established by the jurisdiction’s highest court. The requirements vary by individual states and jurisdictions.

Most states require that applicants graduate from an ABA-accredited law school, pass one or more written bar exams, and be found by an admitting board to have the character to represent and advise others. Lawyers who want to practice in more than one state must often take separate bar exams in each state.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$55,000 - $170,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
10 to 20 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time, Long hours
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Military, Indoor, Office
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Analytical skills, Problem solving skills, Public speaking ability, Verbal communication skills, Written communication skills, People skills, Detail oriented

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='0'>I</span> <span m='280'>am</span> <span m='560'>currently</span> <span m='1140'>serving</span> <span m='1510'>as</span> <span m='1630'>an</span> <span m='1690'>Equal</span> <span m='2009'>Justice</span> <span m='2440'>Works</span> <span m='2960'>Voting</span> <span m='3290'>Rights</span> <span m='3570'>Fellow</span> <span m='3835'>at</span> <span m='4100'>the</span> <span m='4200'>Lawyers'</span> <span m='4540'>Committee</span> <span m='4820'>for</span> <span m='4970'>Civil</span> <span m='5220'>Rights</span> <span m='5470'>in San</span> <span m='5720'>Francisco.</span> <span m='6650'>A</span> <span m='6770'>typical</span> <span m='7160'>day</span> <span m='7870'>consists</span> <span m='8770'>of</span> <span m='8890'>me</span> <span m='9460'>responding</span> <span m='9870'>to</span> <span m='9990'>phone</span> <span m='10220'>calls</span> <span m='10650'>from</span> <span m='11270'>community</span> <span m='11700'>members</span> <span m='12090'>from</span> <span m='12210'>around</span> <span m='12500'>the</span> <span m='12560'>state</span> <span m='12770'>of</span> <span m='12810'>California</span> <span m='13400'>who are</span> <span m='13540'>concerned</span> <span m='13940'>about</span> <span m='14190'>voting</span> <span m='14440'>rights</span> <span m='14720'>violations,</span> <span m='17080'>violations</span> <span m='17840'>ranging</span> <span m='18190'>from</span> <span m='19310'>actual</span> <span m='19600'>Election</span> <span m='19930'>Day</span> <span m='20590'>potential</span> <span m='21030'>violations,</span> <span m='21590'>such</span> <span m='21770'>as</span> <span m='21880'>being</span> <span m='22020'>turned</span> <span m='22280'>away from</span> <span m='22400'>the</span> <span m='22520'>polls,</span> <span m='25230'>for</span> <span m='25450'>any</span> <span m='25580'>reason</span> <span m='26210'>whatsoever,</span> <span m='26630'>because</span> <span m='26850'>they</span> <span m='27050'>didn't have</span> <span m='27140'>a</span> <span m='27200'>photo</span> <span m='27420'>ID,</span> <span m='27780'>which</span> <span m='27980'>in</span> <span m='28030'>California</span> <span m='29160'>you</span> <span m='29270'>don't</span> <span m='29480'>necessarily</span> <span m='30020'>need</span> <span m='30160'>to</span> <span m='30220'>have.</span> <span m='30540'>You need to have</span> <span m='30910'>some</span> <span m='31160'>form of</span> <span m='31570'>ID</span> <span m='31980'>if it's</span> <span m='32310'>your</span> <span m='32650'>first</span> <span m='32940'>time</span> <span m='33290'>voting--</span> <span m='33520'>only</span> <span m='33710'>if</span> <span m='33800'>it's</span> <span m='33920'>your</span> <span m='34010'>first</span> <span m='34320'>time--</span> <span m='35260'>being turned away</span> <span m='35660'>because</span> <span m='35900'>you</span> <span m='35990'>don't</span> <span m='36160'>speak</span> <span m='36360'>English,</span> <span m='36990'>being</span> <span m='37270'>turned</span> <span m='37480'>away</span> <span m='37630'>because</span> <span m='38180'>of</span> <span m='38600'>some</span> <span m='38810'>kind</span> <span m='39030'>of</span> <span m='39180'>sentence</span> <span m='39670'>or</span> <span m='39910'>former prior</span> <span m='40380'>conviction</span> <span m='41020'>that</span> <span m='41130'>you</span> <span m='41220'>might</span> <span m='41400'>have</span> <span m='41580'>on your</span> <span m='41740'>record</span> <span m='42390'>or</span> <span m='42670'>current</span> <span m='42980'>conviction.</span> </p><p><span m='44160'>There are</span> <span m='44500'>different</span> <span m='44820'>laws</span> <span m='45260'>that</span> <span m='45420'>pertain</span> <span m='45910'>to</span> <span m='46040'>your</span> <span m='46310'>right to vote in</span> <span m='46620'>California</span> <span m='47260'>based</span> <span m='47630'>on</span> <span m='48300'>your</span> <span m='48470'>sentence</span> <span m='49030'>or</span> <span m='49110'>whether</span> <span m='49250'>you've</span> <span m='49390'>completed</span> <span m='49770'>your</span> <span m='49880'>sentence.</span> <span m='51140'>So</span> <span m='51320'>we</span> <span m='51420'>get</span> <span m='51530'>calls</span> <span m='51850'>like</span> <span m='52010'>that,</span> <span m='52330'>and</span> <span m='52550'>I</span> <span m='52630'>respond</span> <span m='53020'>to</span> <span m='53080'>those</span> <span m='53310'>calls</span> <span m='54190'>by</span> <span m='54350'>trying</span> <span m='54620'>to</span> <span m='54720'>address</span> <span m='55030'>the</span> <span m='55150'>issue</span> <span m='56110'>with</span> <span m='56380'>the</span> <span m='56460'>local</span> <span m='56750'>precinct</span> <span m='57240'>on</span> <span m='57330'>the day</span> <span m='57440'>of</span> <span m='57630'>the</span> <span m='57720'>election</span> <span m='57980'>or</span> <span m='58240'>with</span> <span m='58460'>the</span> <span m='58550'>registrar.</span> <span m='58870'>And if</span> <span m='59190'>that</span> <span m='59370'>doesn't</span> <span m='59580'>work,</span> <span m='59850'>we</span> <span m='60340'>actually</span> <span m='60630'>look</span> <span m='60870'>at</span> <span m='61500'>potential</span> <span m='62060'>litigation,</span> <span m='62750'>or</span> <span m='62960'>lawsuits,</span> <span m='64024'>that</span> <span m='64349'>we</span> <span m='64610'>might</span> <span m='65000'>have</span> <span m='65190'>to</span> <span m='65290'>file</span> <span m='65650'>under</span> <span m='65970'>either</span> <span m='66190'>state</span> <span m='66480'>or</span> <span m='66550'>federal</span> <span m='66900'>laws</span> <span m='67850'>for</span> <span m='67980'>potential</span> <span m='68330'>violations.</span> </p><p><span m='69350'>How</span> <span m='69470'>did I</span> <span m='69720'>get</span> <span m='69900'>here?</span> <span m='70170'>A</span> <span m='70250'>long</span> <span m='70470'>story.</span> <span m='71300'>So</span> <span m='71430'>actually,</span> <span m='71770'>I'm</span> <span m='71860'>a</span> <span m='71910'>graduate</span> <span m='72380'>of</span> <span m='72460'>Oakland</span> <span m='72690'>Technical</span> <span m='73080'>High</span> <span m='73230'>School</span> <span m='73670'>in</span> <span m='74090'>Oakland,</span> <span m='74380'>California.</span> <span m='75400'>And</span> <span m='75870'>at</span> <span m='76070'>the</span> <span m='76140'>time,</span> <span m='76560'>actually</span> <span m='76870'>when I was</span> <span m='77050'>15,</span> <span m='78090'>one</span> <span m='78320'>of</span> <span m='78360'>my</span> <span m='78490'>best</span> <span m='78850'>friends</span> <span m='79960'>had</span> <span m='80210'>two</span> <span m='80330'>felonies</span> <span m='81010'>on</span> <span m='81190'>his</span> <span m='81360'>record</span> <span m='82110'>for</span> <span m='82750'>felony</span> <span m='83070'>assault--</span> <span m='83880'>school</span> <span m='84190'>fights,</span> <span m='84470'>things</span> <span m='84680'>like</span> <span m='84840'>that.</span> </p><p><span m='86340'>And</span> <span m='86490'>at</span> <span m='86570'>the</span> <span m='86640'>time,</span> <span m='86950'>there</span> <span m='87090'>was</span> <span m='87240'>this</span> <span m='87740'>thing</span> <span m='87910'>called</span> <span m='88100'>the</span> <span m='88180'>Three</span> <span m='88400'>Strikes</span> <span m='88770'>law</span> <span m='89840'>that</span> <span m='90210'>basically</span> <span m='91230'>meant</span> <span m='91560'>that</span> <span m='91660'>if</span> <span m='92440'>he</span> <span m='92560'>had</span> <span m='92790'>gotten</span> <span m='92990'>a</span> <span m='93050'>third</span> <span m='93500'>felony,</span> <span m='93980'>he</span> <span m='94140'>would</span> <span m='94300'>be</span> <span m='94410'>barred</span> <span m='94900'>from</span> <span m='95150'>voting</span> <span m='97260'>potentially</span> <span m='97670'>for</span> <span m='97780'>the</span> <span m='97880'>foreseeable</span> <span m='98340'>future</span> <span m='98830'>at that</span> <span m='99070'>time.</span> <span m='100390'>And</span> <span m='100520'>so</span> <span m='100770'>at</span> <span m='100940'>that</span> <span m='101150'>time,</span> <span m='101540'>I</span> <span m='101700'>became</span> <span m='102270'>very</span> <span m='102840'>concerned</span> <span m='103440'>about</span> <span m='103850'>this</span> <span m='104030'>proposition,</span> <span m='104770'>when I was</span> <span m='105190'>15</span> <span m='105480'>years</span> <span m='105650'>old,</span> <span m='106010'>Proposition</span> <span m='106480'>21,</span> <span m='107170'>which</span> <span m='107370'>would</span> <span m='107560'>have criminalized</span> <span m='108370'>youth</span> <span m='108540'>of</span> <span m='108640'>color--</span> <span m='108920'>particularly</span> <span m='109200'>young</span> <span m='109250'>men</span> <span m='109510'>of</span> <span m='109610'>color--</span> <span m='110910'>as</span> <span m='111080'>adults</span> <span m='111750'>for</span> <span m='112230'>certain</span> <span m='112540'>types</span> <span m='112810'>of</span> <span m='112900'>felony</span> <span m='113290'>crimes,</span> <span m='113890'>certain</span> <span m='114130'>types</span> <span m='114370'>of</span> <span m='114540'>serious</span> <span m='114940'>crimes,</span> <span m='115240'>assault,</span> <span m='115620'>battery,</span> <span m='115980'>other</span> <span m='116220'>things</span> <span m='116450'>like</span> <span m='116630'>that.</span> <span m='117610'>And</span> <span m='117800'>because</span> <span m='118090'>it</span> <span m='118160'>impacted</span> <span m='118620'>somebody</span> <span m='118890'>that</span> <span m='119040'>I</span> <span m='119140'>knew</span> <span m='119630'>and</span> <span m='119885'>loved</span> <span m='120140'>and</span> <span m='120240'>was</span> <span m='120540'>part</span> <span m='120700'>of</span> <span m='120740'>my</span> <span m='120840'>extended</span> <span m='121260'>family</span> <span m='121660'>more</span> <span m='121820'>or</span> <span m='121860'>less,</span> <span m='122270'>it</span> <span m='122750'>hit</span> <span m='122940'>close</span> <span m='123190'>to</span> <span m='123250'>home</span> <span m='123500'>for</span> <span m='123630'>me.</span> <span m='123960'>And</span> <span m='124150'>so</span> <span m='124240'>at</span> <span m='124300'>that</span> <span m='124490'>time</span> <span m='125240'>I</span> <span m='125340'>started</span> <span m='125670'>to</span> <span m='126160'>raise</span> <span m='126450'>my</span> <span m='126590'>awareness</span> <span m='127310'>of</span> <span m='127980'>what</span> <span m='128509'>people's</span> <span m='128860'>rights</span> <span m='129169'>were</span> <span m='129509'>under</span> <span m='129699'>the</span> <span m='129789'>14th</span> <span m='130220'>Amendment,</span> <span m='130650'>under</span> <span m='131430'>Equal</span> <span m='131650'>Protection</span> <span m='133090'>and</span> <span m='133230'>the</span> <span m='133300'>Constitution.</span> <span m='133890'>And</span> <span m='133980'>I</span> <span m='134240'>became</span> <span m='134550'>interested</span> <span m='134990'>in</span> <span m='135060'>the</span> <span m='135170'>law.</span> </p><p><span m='135500'>If you</span> <span m='135820'>love</span> <span m='136550'>social</span> <span m='136950'>justice,</span> <span m='137530'>if you</span> <span m='137910'>love</span> <span m='138530'>equality,</span> <span m='139390'>if</span> <span m='139520'>you</span> <span m='139630'>believe</span> <span m='139930'>that</span> <span m='140250'>all</span> <span m='140450'>people</span> <span m='140710'>should</span> <span m='140850'>be</span> <span m='140950'>treated</span> <span m='141280'>equal,</span> <span m='141690'>the</span> <span m='142000'>law</span> <span m='142430'>is a</span> <span m='142460'>great</span> <span m='142730'>place</span> <span m='143010'>for</span> <span m='143100'>you.</span> <span m='143400'>And don't</span> <span m='143610'>be</span> <span m='143700'>discouraged</span> <span m='144310'>because</span> <span m='144670'>some</span> <span m='144840'>of</span> <span m='144930'>our</span> <span m='145040'>laws</span> <span m='145520'>don't</span> <span m='145780'>reflect</span> <span m='146200'>that</span> <span m='146380'>right</span> <span m='146590'>now.</span> <span m='147860'>One</span> <span m='148070'>of</span> <span m='148120'>the</span> <span m='148200'>reasons</span> <span m='148510'>I</span> <span m='148570'>got</span> <span m='148730'>involved</span> <span m='149620'>and</span> <span m='149740'>decided</span> <span m='150090'>to</span> <span m='150130'>become</span> <span m='150320'>a</span> <span m='150390'>lawyer--</span> <span m='150820'>even</span> <span m='151125'>though</span> <span m='151430'>it took</span> <span m='151570'>me</span> <span m='151670'>a</span> <span m='151710'>long</span> <span m='151870'>time.</span> </p><p><span m='152340'>I</span> <span m='152860'>went</span> <span m='153010'>to</span> <span m='153080'>college</span> <span m='153600'>and then</span> <span m='153900'>spent</span> <span m='154140'>six</span> <span m='154340'>years</span> <span m='154550'>in</span> <span m='154590'>the</span> <span m='154650'>workforce</span> <span m='155320'>as</span> <span m='155530'>a</span> <span m='155580'>community</span> <span m='156000'>organizer</span> <span m='156580'>and</span> <span m='156700'>nonprofit</span> <span m='157220'>professional</span> <span m='157780'>before I</span> <span m='158120'>decided</span> <span m='158540'>to go to</span> <span m='158750'>law</span> <span m='158900'>school.</span> <span m='160070'>But I</span> <span m='160300'>ultimately</span> <span m='160720'>made</span> <span m='160890'>that</span> <span m='161020'>decision</span> <span m='161375'>and</span> <span m='161730'>that</span> <span m='161990'>seed</span> <span m='162160'>was</span> <span m='162300'>planted</span> <span m='162600'>when</span> <span m='162720'>I</span> <span m='162780'>was</span> <span m='162990'>15</span> <span m='163940'>because</span> <span m='164220'>I</span> <span m='164300'>saw all of</span> <span m='164790'>the</span> <span m='164960'>injustices</span> <span m='165540'>taking</span> <span m='165780'>place</span> <span m='166030'>around</span> <span m='166190'>me.</span> <span m='166480'>I saw</span> <span m='166660'>racial</span> <span m='166940'>profiling</span> <span m='167700'>affecting</span> <span m='168180'>the</span> <span m='168340'>black</span> <span m='168500'>environment</span> <span m='168880'>in my</span> <span m='168990'>community,</span> <span m='169500'>our</span> <span m='169620'>community.</span> <span m='171010'>And</span> <span m='171180'>it</span> <span m='171490'>upset</span> <span m='171870'>me</span> <span m='172020'>that</span> <span m='172160'>the</span> <span m='172260'>law</span> <span m='172420'>did</span> <span m='172540'>not</span> <span m='172680'>reflect</span> <span m='173130'>what</span> <span m='173410'>I</span> <span m='174000'>grew</span> <span m='174210'>up</span> <span m='174440'>with</span> <span m='174670'>in</span> <span m='174760'>terms</span> <span m='174950'>of</span> <span m='175250'>looking</span> <span m='175560'>at</span> <span m='175710'>the</span> <span m='175830'>Civil Rights</span> <span m='175960'>Movement,</span> <span m='176280'>looking</span> <span m='176580'>at</span> <span m='176660'>our</span> <span m='176740'>history,</span> <span m='177380'>should</span> <span m='177710'>be</span> <span m='179070'>equal</span> <span m='179350'>protection</span> <span m='179950'>for</span> <span m='180120'>all</span> <span m='180330'>in</span> <span m='180390'>our</span> <span m='180470'>society.</span> </p><p><span m='181450'>And</span> <span m='181690'>so</span> <span m='182335'>I</span> <span m='182620'>would</span> <span m='182760'>encourage</span> <span m='183270'>you</span> <span m='183450'>to</span> <span m='183540'>think</span> <span m='183740'>about</span> <span m='183980'>the</span> <span m='184050'>law</span> <span m='184330'>as</span> <span m='184640'>a</span> <span m='184740'>tool,</span> <span m='185470'>just</span> <span m='185670'>one</span> <span m='185850'>tool</span> <span m='186080'>out of</span> <span m='186260'>many.</span> <span m='186450'>There's</span> <span m='186770'>community</span> <span m='187050'>organizing.</span> <span m='187700'>There's</span> <span m='188880'>politics</span> <span m='189400'>if</span> <span m='189470'>you're</span> <span m='189590'>interested</span> <span m='189900'>in</span> <span m='189990'>that.</span> <span m='190695'>But</span> <span m='191060'>the law is</span> <span m='191550'>one</span> <span m='191820'>tool</span> <span m='192270'>to</span> <span m='192410'>actually</span> <span m='192760'>create</span> <span m='193260'>policies</span> <span m='194060'>and</span> <span m='195070'>literal</span> <span m='196330'>structures</span> <span m='196700'>that</span> <span m='196840'>govern</span> <span m='197310'>our</span> <span m='197420'>daily</span> <span m='197730'>life</span> <span m='199120'>to</span> <span m='199430'>ensure</span> <span m='199670'>that</span> <span m='199800'>we</span> <span m='199930'>have</span> <span m='200180'>true</span> <span m='200380'>equality</span> <span m='200705'>here in the</span> <span m='201030'>United</span> <span m='201320'>States</span> <span m='201700'>and</span> <span m='202050'>around</span> <span m='202280'>the</span> <span m='202340'>world.</span> </p>","file":{"id":314976,"video_id":"2868067601001","name":"1483-Joanna-p-CivilRightsAttorney","duration":203013,"thumbnail_url":null}});