Welcoming new members to the Board of Trustees

Discovering Justice is honored to welcome two new members to its Board of Trustees: Sarah Walters and Emily Sy. Welcome, Sarah and Emily!

Sarah Walters | Partner, McDermot Will & Emery

Sarah Walters brings a strong interest in civic education to the Discovering Justice Board and an admiration for the Mock Trial, Mock Appeal, and Children Discovering Justice Programs. The daughter of an attorney, Sarah grew up in Portland, Oregon, then switched coasts to study at UPenn and BC Law School. She has worked at Goodwin and Nutter and first encountered DJ while working in the Moakley Courthouse as an US Attorney.

Emily Sy | Litigation Counsel, Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Emily chairs the Asian American Lawyers of Massachusetts and serves on the Boards of Greater Boston Legal Services and Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center. She also led the Takeda Legal Mentor team for the Rindge Avenue Upper School in Cambridge. Emily grew up in Ohio and attended Wellesley College and law school at Yeshiva University. Previously, she worked at State Street and Nixon Peabody.

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Welcome to Discovering Justice, Emily Duggan

Last week, Discovering Justice welcomed our new Communications and Development Senior Associate to the team. Welcome, Emily Duggan!

Emily Duggan believes in the importance of experiential learning programs to help young people explore new perspectives, environments, and ideas. A poet and performer, Emily is proud to have supported communications and development initiatives for a variety of local nonprofits. She earned a BA in Creative Writing from Brandeis University, with graduate study in Theatre Education at Emerson College and Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Emily will be working with Executive Director Matt Wilson and all members of the Discovering Justice team to implement communications, promote our programs, and plan the Annual Gala in the June.

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Special panel event in explores court interpreting

Last month, Discovering Justice hosted a special panel event: “Court Interpreting Within The Judiciary: Making Justice Accessible.” Moderated by Discovering Justice Executive Director Matt Wilson, the panel of court interpreters, judges, and attorneys highlighted the essential role interpreters play in the courtroom and larger legal system, and the challenges those interpreters face. 

Sponsored by The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the Federal Bar Association, and the New England Translation Association, the event was a part of an ongoing public events series in the Moakley US Courthouse from the Courthouse and Discovering Justice. Over the last two years, this series has offered events focusing on Restorative Justice and the role of the media in the justice system.

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Fall Mock Trial Program Poses First Amendment Challenges for Student Attorneys

For ten weeks last fall, hundreds of Massachusetts middle school students were brimming with excitement. Through Discovering Justice’s Mock Trial program, student attorneys used a timely First-Amendment case (Jordan King v. Granger School District) to examine the interplay between social media, environmental justice, bullying, and free speech – hot-button topics that are only increasing in relevance and urgency, especially for students.

Discovering Justice’s 2023 Fall Mock Trial Final Event showcases were the largest of its kind in the program’s history. In 13 courthouses across the Commonwealth, 34 teams of over 400 total student attorneys presented their cases. Supporting the event were 180 legal mentors, 34 state and federal judges, 300+ volunteer jurors, and 36 teacher coordinators from 15 communities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 

Throughout the program, student attorneys wrestled with the tension between students’ right to free speech and the ability to come to school without being bullied. In Jordan King v. Granger School District, a high-school environmentalist brings a case against her school for violating her right to free speech. School administrators demand that she remove videos that she had posted on the TikTok social media platform to call out student peers for contributing to climate change. 

Discovering Justice Mock Trial and Mock Appeal Programs Manager Lisa Perez Tighe called the final events “inspiring,” describing courtrooms “filled with proud families and community members” who had gathered together to celebrate “the hard work done by the students, teachers, and legal mentors.” 

Added Tighe, “witnessing students learn firsthand about their constitutional rights highlights the critical civic and democratic ideals Discovering Justice endeavors to instill.”

Lisa Tighe addresses student attorneys during open ceremonies for the first of two standing-room-only events in Springfield, Mass.
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Kayla Nordman

Kayla Nordman believes strongly in expanding access to comprehensive civic education to provide the next generation with the resources they need to uphold and expand upon the values of American democracy and create a more equitable future. Before joining Discovering Justice, she worked as a Legislative Intern at the Massachusetts State House and as a Program Manager for the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education. Kayla graduated from Suffolk University with a BA in International Relations.