Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 27

FEATURE
cal power. Ninety-one percent of students in TAP's 2022-23 program
were first-generation law students, and 35 percent were also first-generation
college students.
" My TAP mentors reinforced in me that I be my authentic self and also be
an ambitious and successful legal professional. In a field that can often
be inaccessible and difficult to navigate, my TAP mentors helped me realize
that there is no one way to have a legal career, " says Maya Gandhi, a
First Amendment Fellow at The New York Times and a 2023 TAP mentee.
TAP's mentorship program includes visits to circuit courts, judicial brown
bag lunches, and other events to illuminate the clerkship experience for
its fellows. Its Clerkship Handbook, geared toward law students of color,
details what to expect when clerking, the benefits and challenges involved,
a breakdown of state and federal opportunities, and advice on
the application and interview process.
In addition, TAP's networking opportunities and skill-building workshops
on brief writing and other topics have supported student development.
" We're really trying to develop those core appellate fundamentals like
writing that you have to have, " says Khan. " We're also building out their
networks because who you know really matters, so we're making sure
they know appellate lawyers and judges in order to build connections. "
Juvaria Khan, a civil rights litigator, founded
The Appellate Project in 2019.
TURNING TRAGEDY
INTO ACTION
For Khan, TAP is more
than a job. It's personal.
Growing up in rural
Arizona, far away from
the bureaucracy and politics
of appellate law,
Khan had little knowledge
of the enigmatic
world of the nation's appellate
courts when she
arrived at Columbia Law
School. Only after the
September 11 terrorist
attacks, as she watched
Muslims like herself face
intense discrimination,
and as she pressed forward
civil rights cases
for her clients, did she become fully aware of the power of the appellate
court system.
" It made me realize the impact the law has on our lives and the importance
of representation among attorneys and judges, " says Khan. " I knew
I wanted to do this kind of work that was so impactful for my community. "
Khan hadn't learned much about the appellate system at Columbia, she
says, especially its rich character of research, writing, and deep thought
about complex issues. Looking back, she remembers being frustrated
that she came so late to something she had an affinity for. It also was apparent
that other law students of color had had the same experience.
" It was just so clear that my experience was not at all unique and that the
same issues are still happening today, " says Khan. " For the vast majority
of people in appellate
law, it was
being in the right
network with
someone who just
told them where
to find the pathway
and what
steps they would
need to take to get
there. "
After law school,
Khan clerked for
Judge Michael P.
Shea in the U.S.
District Court of the District of Connecticut and worked at Patterson
Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP in New York. She also served as a senior staff
attorney at Muslim Advocates, combining litigation and public campaign
strategies in civil rights cases. At this point in her career, the lack of
diversity, especially racial diversity, among appellate lawyers and judges
became even more apparent to her.
" I certainly never saw people from my own background, and this is particularly
problematic when you realize that appellate courts often disproportionately
impact communities of color, " says Khan. " You have a
system where the communities most impacted are usually the least
represented. "
TAP has mentored nearly 500 law students so far.
Khan shares that it became exasperating to litigate appellate cases
knowing how little diversity there was in the practice, prompting her
to take a deeper look at representation issues and launch TAP.
AN ORGANIZATION ON THE RISE
As her staff has grown to four since TAP's founding in 2019, Khan says
there has been wider recognition of the importance of the organization's
work. In November 2023, the J. M. Kaplan Fund awarded TAP one
of its 10 biennial prizes for its transformative, early-stage work to address
social justice issues. TAP will receive a total of $175,000 over three years
and join a learning collaborative designed to support startup organizations.
" The
Appellate Project is providing a much-needed pathway to increase
the representation of communities of color in our country's courts of appeal, "
stated Justin Goldbach, J.M.K. Innovation Prize program director, in
a press release. " Like its fellow prize awardees, [TAP is] poised to reshape
our world to be more equitable and just. We are thrilled to support them
on that journey over the coming years. "
Khan says this kind of capacity-building investment will help TAP continue
its core work while growing the organization and its expertise. Most
importantly, it signals to the legal community and the nonprofit world
that TAP is making a valuable contribution. " This prize is incredibly validating
that TAP is a transformative concept at large and hopefully signals
to other funders that it's something they should pay attention to and
support, " Khan adds.
Sarah Kellogg is a freelance writer based in the Washington, D.C., area.
Photos courtesy of The Appellate Project
MARCH/APRIL 2024 * WASHINGTON LAWYER 27

Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024

Notice to Members
From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Defending Diversity: Rise of DEI-Focused Practices
Will Law Firms Stay the Course on Improving Diversity?
Unlocking the Potential of Diverse Talent
We Belong: Black Students in the IP Talent Pipeline
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: Her Legacy Lives on Through Us
Get to Know The Appellate Project
Speaking Up for Lawyers With Invisible Disability
Special Section: 25 Years of the Youth Law Fair
Taking the Stand
Worth Reading
Member Spotlight
On Further Review
Attorney Briefs
Speaking of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 4
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Notice to Members
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Defending Diversity: Rise of DEI-Focused Practices
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 11
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 12
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 13
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Will Law Firms Stay the Course on Improving Diversity?
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 15
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 16
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 17
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Unlocking the Potential of Diverse Talent
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 19
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - We Belong: Black Students in the IP Talent Pipeline
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 21
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 22
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 23
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: Her Legacy Lives on Through Us
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 25
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Get to Know The Appellate Project
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 27
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Speaking Up for Lawyers With Invisible Disability
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 29
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 30
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 31
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Special Section: 25 Years of the Youth Law Fair
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 33
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 35
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 36
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 39
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 43
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 45
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 47
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Cover4
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