Miami Law grad David W. Johnson has been selected for the Equal Justice Works (EJW) Fellowship at Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) with a focus on Elder Justice. The Elder Justice Program is a two-year EJW fellowship aimed at improving the national response to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation as part of their expansion to mobilize lawyers to address elder abuse and exploitation in the United States.
“I am so incredibly honored to receive this fellowship because senior citizens are one of the most often abused and marginalized populations, and I am honored to help them attain justice,” said David Johnson, a 32-year-old Miami native. “There is truly amazing work to be done to help this vulnerable population, and I will be able to do that at Coast to Coast thanks to the Equal Justice Works Fellowship.”
EJW, a nonprofit organization, is the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law. Each year, EJW connects legal services organizations across the country, like CCLA, with passionate law students and lawyers to address unmet legal needs in underserved communities.
While studying at Miami Law, Johnson saw the need to protect society’s most vulnerable through his practice with the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and its President, Professor Mary Anne Franks. David notes how Professor Franks inspired him to reflect upon what the meaning of this profession is.
David’s project with CCLA will provide protection for seniors from their abusers via injunctions, unlawful detainers, and ejectment actions. Financial struggles are also a result of elder abuse; thus, his project will also aim to assist in maintaining safe and stable living environments in those cases as well. Since starting the fellowship, David has already been able to resolve and support more than a handful of senior citizen’s cases.
He is also part of the Elder Abuse Task Force that combines leaders from the State Attorney’s Office and assisted living facilities. The goal of the Task Force is to foster relationships, build a dialogue on issues arising, and how best to help the senior clients. David is able to ensure the victims are referred to other supportive services and can tap into the Task Force to help navigate his clients through these services. In addition, starting in 2021, David will be providing ongoing training to community partners and provide outreach to the senior population.