News & Updates FORE Announcements

FORE Announces $1.4 Million Grant to Equal Justice Works to Launch a National Legal Fellowship Program

March 21, 2024

FORE today announced it is awarding $1,361,005 to Equal Justice Works to establish a national fellowship program that will prepare six early-career public interest lawyers to serve low-income individuals and families impacted by the opioid and overdose crisis. The lawyers will provide free representation to roughly 500 clients through legal aid organizations in up to five states.

As part of their two-year fellowships, the lawyers will receive intensive training that increases their knowledge of opioid use disorder (OUD), medical-legal partnerships, and strategies for building relationships with key stakeholders, including correctional facilities, the courts, and health care and social services organizations. They will also leverage their experiences with OUD-affected communities to advocate for changes in policy, practice, and procedures at the institutional, local, state, and federal levels.

“We’re pleased to partner with Equal Justice Works in developing the field of legal aid lawyers with expertise in OUD,” said Karen A. Scott, MD, MPH, President of FORE. “The opioid crisis cannot be fully addressed without multidisciplinary interventions, including legal assistance.”

This latest grant builds on funding Equal Justice Works received from FORE in 2021, which supported the placement of a two-year Fellow, Emily Neely, JD, at Legal Aid of West Virginia, where she provided education on mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution to low-income families impacted by the opioid crisis.

In a bid to prevent family separations and promote family reunification for people in recovery, Emily Neely, JD, a fellow with Equal Justice Works, created a mediation program that aims to help low-income families avoid contentious child custody battles that can create additional trauma for children.