Honoring the life and legacy of EJA Fellow with the Brian Lewinstein EJA Memorial Fellowship

In News by Emma Ruben

Dear EJA Family,

It is with a great sadness that we mourn the loss of EJA Fellow Brian Lewinstein of the UC Berkeley School of Law. This summer, Brian fellowed with the East Bay Community Law Center to "represent young people at risk of entering the juvenile justice system in Alameda County through the Education, Defense & Justice for Youth (EDJY) clinic." Brian leaves behind a legacy of compassion, advocacy, and generosity, which we wish to honor with the annual Brian Lewinstein EJA Memorial Fellowship. All donations made in his name will go toward this newly established memorial fellowship to fund an EJA Fellow each summer who commits to carrying out the work Brian was so deeply passionate about.

In his cover letter to Equal Justice America, Brian shared:

"The most formative experience in shaping my path as an incipient lawyer came from tutoring a fourth grader from East Los Angeles public housing. My time in this role grounded the work of policymaking in real faces and real stories, namely Ryan’s. As Ryan’s math and reading capabilities quickly progressed, I found that I, too, learned an important lesson – that improved legislation alone would not be enough to reduce the obstacles facing Ryan, his low-income, Spanish-speaking parents, or his two younger brothers. A more holistic solution would necessarily include legal approaches to resolving disparities in education, housing, employment, and access to basic, essential services, among a host of other socioeconomic and racial justice issues.

"I started law school with the goal of confronting systemic barriers through front-end prevention, impact litigation, and policy advocacy so that young people like Ryan and his peers could grow up in a more just, equitable society. So far, I have supplemented my 1L coursework with an elective class focusing on the causes and effects of the school-to-prison pipeline in the East Bay and joined the Berkeley Journal of African-American Law and Policy to promote scholarship on legal issues affecting people of color. This summer, I look forward to directly serving and empowering at-risk youth."

The legal-aid community has lost a fiercely dedicated, and kind-hearted defender of justice who was prepared to commit his career to the public interest. He will continue to inspire, and be remembered often and fondly. Our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones.

Sincerely,

Equal Justice America