Student Spotlight: Nina Nevarez ’22

Nina Nevarez ’22

What is your favorite part about being a NYU Law student? My favorite part about being an NYU Law student is the amount of public interest-minded students and opportunities. I’ve met so many other students interested in other areas of public interest law and it’s been amazing to hear about their work and experiences. The Public Interest Career Center has also been a big help in securing summer internships and considering my post-grad options.

What first drew you to the Civil Rights Clinic?  As a 2L, I participated in the Racial Equity Strategies Clinic with NAACP LDF [Legal Defense and Education Fund], where I worked on school-desegregation litigation. Because I loved the work so much, I knew as a 3L I wanted to do a yearlong clinic where I could be even more involved in a case. The Civil Rights Clinic was my first choice because it offers the chance to participate in  both impact work and individual cases, like employment discrimination mediations. I was also interested in learning about the Clinic’s integrated-advocacy approach, which means we use both legal and non-legal tools in our work like litigation and community organizing.

Describe your experience in the Civil Rights Clinic. Each student works in two different areas. I've been working with a team of other clinic students on highways in South Carolina and Syracuse and local redistricting efforts in Louisiana. In our local redistricting cases, we are working closely with local chapters of the NAACP on their efforts to advance maps that would allow for proportional Black representation on city councils, school boards, and parish councils. Our highways work is about making sure that old roads, like the I-81 in Syracuse, are rebuilt in a way that rectifies the past harm highways have inflicted on Black communities, and that new roads, like our case in South Carolina, don't follow the historical practice of destroying Black neighborhoods. Last semester, my team had the chance to visit both Syracuse and South Carolina to meet with community members and see where the proposed roadways were. In Syracuse, a community organizer led us on the route of their summer march, showing us where the roadway would be and where its impacts would most be felt. It was an incredible experience we could only have by connecting with the community on the ground.