Meet HOPE Graduates Making an Impact Through Advocacy and Pro Bono Across the U.S.

For 25 years, the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center has been dedicated to engaging and inspiring the next generation of lawyers to embrace the importance of public interest and pro bono advocacy.
Meet HOPE Graduates Making an Impact Through Advocacy and Pro Bono Across the U.S.
Tori Simkovic, Nalani Gordon, Emma McEvoy, and Hannah Gordon

The 25th anniversary of HOPE is a time to look back at its impact since its founding in 1998. As the starting point for Miami Law students committed to advocacy and service, participants of the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center - Miami Scholars, Fellows, Public Interest Leadership Board, volunteers, and friends – take advantage of programs, clinics, projects, courses, and opportunities while in law school.

After they graduate, they pave the way for meaningful service and impact. Graduates take many paths, some making a difference in government and non-profits, others in the military, and some in the public sector.

Meet HOPE Graduates Making an Impact Via Pro Bono Work and at Legal Aid Offices across the U.S.

Hannah Gordon, J.D. '20
Staff Attorney, Farmworker Law Project of the Legal Aid Society

Hannah Gordon has worked as a Staff Attorney at the Farmworker Law Project of the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. for nearly two years. The former Miami Public Interest Scholar and University of Miami Law Review Editor-in-Chief says, "HOPE was instrumental to my development as an advocate and as a person. Many attorneys I meet received little to no support for public interest in law school, and I always take the opportunity to brag about the amazing work and the amazing people at the HOPE Office." In her current role, she reflects that "despite being lauded as 'essential,' farmworkers are some of the least protected members of our society. My work ranges from minor tax questions to federal impact litigation involving labor law, civil rights, and human trafficking. I am so grateful that my time at Miami Law prepared me to meet the challenges I face with patience, creativity, and most importantly, with hope."

Nalani Gordon, J.D. '18 
Attorney, Gunster

Former Miami Public Interest Scholar Nalani Gordon is an attorney with Gunster in West Palm Beach, FL, where she focuses her practice on litigation matters ranging from discrimination lawsuits to disputes over non-competition and non-solicitation agreements. Nalani continues her work in the community. As a member of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Nalani is passionate about doing her part to create an inclusive workplace that promotes and values diversity. She is also an active member of the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s Committee for Diversity and Inclusion and the F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association. A certified teacher who is passionate about education and community service, she serves in her church’s Youth Department and as a mentor for the Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program at Palm Beach Gardens High. She shares, "I am eternally grateful for my experience as a Miami Scholar. The Miami Scholars Program exposed me to the limitless ways in which I could make a positive impact in my community. I am also grateful for the lifelong friendships and relationships that I built with Dean Lennon and her phenomenal team, and the members of my dynamic cohort. The Miami Scholars program attracts and develops action-oriented changemakers who continuously promote a more just and equitable society. It is my honor to be a graduate of this unparalleled program." 

Emma McEvoy, J.D. '22
Attorney, Community Legal Aid

Emma McEvoy is an attorney with Community Legal Aid in Worcester, MA. She shares: "When I decided to go to law school, I knew I wanted to build a career as a public interest attorney. However, I was undecided whether that would be a career in policy or direct services, civil work, or criminal. The Miami Public Interest Scholar program was a perfect fit for me, because it allowed me to explore various pathways in public interest law and surrounded me with inspirational peers and program directors who encouraged keeping an open mind. Over my three years at Miami Law, I was introduced to criminal law through an internship with the Office of the Miami-Dade Public Defender, civil law at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, direct services at Legal Services of Greater Miami, and policy work through legal research for the Community Justice Project. It wasn't until the last semester of my 3L year that I knew which direction I wanted to take post-JD. HOPE introduced me to the physicians at the IDEA Exchange, the Miami-based needle exchange that provides holistic legal assistance alongside harm reduction services, and to Professor Tamar Ezer, who agreed to supervise my independent study on Medical-Legal Partnerships. I now run a Medical-Legal Partnership between Community Legal Aid and UMass Memorial Medical Center in Massachusetts, and I credit the Miami Scholars program for helping me forge these connections and discover my passion addressing health-harming legal needs."

Tori Simkovic, J.D. '22
Associate, DLA Piper

Tori Simkovic is an Associate with DLA Piper in Miami, FL. She continues her public interest ethic she cemented at Miami Law as a Miami Public Interest Scholar at her firm, where she has completed more than 300 hours of pro bono, including the following projects: an amicus brief to the Arizona Supreme Court in support of juveniles sentenced to life in prison, a motion for compassionate release for an immunocompromised individual based on COVID-19 risks, a Florida Supreme Court jurisdictional brief and habeas corpus petition for a wrongfully convicted client in conjunction with the Miami Law Innocence Clinic, and a pro bono clinic to help tenants recover their security deposits at the Legal Services of Greater Miami. She shares: "My law school experience would not have been complete without HOPE—a source of inspiration, connection, and joy during the most difficult moments of law school. HOPE enabled me to find one of the most fulfilling internships of my life at the Promise of Justice Initiative, helped me surround myself with a network of students similarly committed to public service, and encouraged me to develop my pro bono practice immediately upon starting my career." She also continues her commitment to advocacy at Miami Law where she is an adjunct faculty member who teaches Wrongful Convictions and for the Innocence Clinic.

More on HOPE and its 25th anniversary