Note: Each year, Nebraska Appleseed is fortunate to work with a number of bright, talented law clerks and interns. This is one of a series of posts that feature Appleseed’s clerks and interns discussing their backgrounds and experiences.
Nebraska Appleseed law clerk Leigh Ellis has always aspired to fight for social justice. Whether it was working at a grassroots organization or making the decision to go to law school, her focus has always been on how to change the system for the better.
“I wanted to return to Omaha for the summer and I was interested in working for an organization that focused on systemic change,” Leigh said. “Appleseed was a perfect fit.”
The Omaha native has returned to her home state after studying in Washington, D.C., and White Plains, NY. While at American University in D.C. Leigh participated in a group called Visions in Feminism which sought to promote social justice without going through the usual system of power.
“While in college, I assumed that systemic change was most effectively actualized by working outside of systems of power,” Leigh said. “This understanding of resistance led to my participation in the grassroots organizing of various collectives, such as Visions in Feminism. Eventually, I began to question this approach. I reconsidered my previous assumption and, consequently, started to recognize the importance of understanding how systems of power worked from the inside. This inevitably led to my interest in the legal system and my decision to attend law school.”
Leigh’s approach toward change may have shifted, but her zeal for helping people hasn’t been tempered.
“In the future,” she said, “I want to practice social justice lawyering and serve the most marginalized members of our community.”
Name: Leigh Ellis
Position: Law Clerk
Hometown: Omaha, NE
About me: Attended American University in Washington, D.C. and am currently a student at Pace Law School in White Plains, NY. Prior to law school I worked as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service at the Mary McLeod Bethune Counsel House (Washington, D.C.). I also worked for the Midwest Regional Office (Omaha, NE) and the Department of the Interior’s Wilderness Stewardship Recreation and Development Division (Washington, D.C.).