Careers in Child and Family Policy: Legal Advocacy

Join us to learn about pursuing a career in legal advocacy from Shajuti Hossain, JD `18, associate attorney at Renne Public Law Group; Chavis Jones, JD `20, associate counsel in the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and Peggy Nicholson, supervising attorney, Children’s Law Clinic, Duke Law.

They have pursued careers in legal advocacy working on issues including housing, civil and human rights, education, and public benefits. They are social justice advocates who are using their law degrees to improve the lives of children and families. We look forward to hearing how they got started, the twists and turns their careers have taken, and what they enjoy most about the work they do.

Prior to joining Renne Public Law Group, Hossain was a law fellow on the Metropolitan Equity Team at Public Advocates, based in San Francisco. She worked on local, regional, and state level housing advocacy with a racial justice lens. Hossain received her J.D. from Duke University School of Law in 2018. During law school, she engaged on a variety of social justice issues.

Jones is a proud graduate of Morehouse College, where he studied philosophy. He then studied at Harvard Divinity School, where he was a fellow of the Harvard Graduate School Leadership Institute, a staff writer for the Harvard Journal of Human Rights Policy at the School of Government, and a ministry fellow. In May of 2020, he graduated from law school at Duke University, where he focused primarily on civil and human rights issues. During law school, he worked as an active investigations team member of the Duke Law Innocence Project, worked in the Wrongful Convictions Clinic, and is national vice president of the Duke Black Alumni Association.

Nicholson joined the Duke Law faculty in 2020 as a lecturing fellow and supervising attorney in the Children’s Law Clinic. In this capacity, she works with law students to represent children and their families in special education, school discipline, and public benefits cases. Before joining Duke Law, Nicholson served as director of the Youth Justice Project of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, where she worked with directly impacted youth, parents, and communities to advocate for legal and policy solutions to North Carolina’s school-to-prison pipeline. She earlier practiced public interest law at Legal Aid of North Carolina, where she provided legal advice and representation in education cases to hundreds of low-income students and families across the state.

This speaker series is geared towards Duke students who want to learn more about careers in child and family policy. We also welcome faculty, staff and alumni to join us. Meetings are designed to help students explore the wide range of job opportunities and careers available in the field of child and family policy while creating a network of students who share their professional interests.

At meetings, we will discuss how to forge a career in policy by speaking with people doing policy work in education, health, juvenile justice, child welfare, economic security, and other areas. Learn from people who went straight into policy jobs, pursued law school, joined Teach for America, or have made a careers in academia. Speakers will talk about how they got started, about the turns they took along the way, and what they have enjoyed most. They will also share tips for launching your career and what they look for when hiring.