June 2nd, 2015
Lee graduated from Furman University in 2012 with a degree in history and philosophy and a minor in poverty studies. He currently attends the University of Alabama School of Law and just completed his first year. He was born and raised in Mobile, AL and is glad to be back home after 6 years in South Carolina.
What drew you to Alabama Possible?
As an undergrad, I wanted to find a way to alleviate poverty in the South. Now, I always want to put an asterisk next to “poverty studies” because it is indeed a privilege to study poverty, but I was able to infuse my double majors with a sense of urgency and utility through it. Ultimately, I want to serve the people of Alabama, America’s 6th poorest state, and I want to serve them through legal and social advocacy. Alabama Possible has given me the opportunity to do both.
What legal work and research will you be doing?
I will be assisting Kristina Scott in completing a comprehensive internal assessment and accreditation process through a program called the Standards for Excellence. It’s easy to overlook this sort of unglamorous administrative legal work, but it is absolutely essential for all non-profits and often a critical component of grant funding. I will also be conducting policy research into payday lending in Alabama.
What did you do in between undergraduate and law school?
I spent two years in Greenville, SC competing for a post-collegiate professional track team. I was the slow poke with a bunch of Olympic Trials finalists doing my best to break four minutes in the mile. Though I didn’t quite hit that goal, I came really close and had some incredible athletic experiences with some of the best runners in America along the way.
I also spent one of those years working as a clerk for South Carolina Legal Services. It’s remarkable but unsurprising how many legal issues are solely attributable to poverty. I was very grateful for the chance to directly assist those in dire need of help and watch as our work immediately improved their lives.
What do you hope to do after law school?
I’m very interested in labor and employment law and will be working as an intern with the National Labor Relations Board during the second half of the summer. I hope to explore a variety of options in that field. I also plan to remain very active in non-profit work and poverty advocacy, specifically through groups dedicated to impact litigation. I want to sidestep lobbying and aim straight for the courthouse.
What’s the best part about living in Birmingham?
The people. This city is becoming truly diverse and vibrant, and I’m glad to be a part of it this summer. That said, the boom often masks the bust—far too many of our neighbors are struggling, and I would like nothing more than to see this city include all of its residents in the economic growth.