Juvenile Law Center

Kristina Moon

Staff Attorney
Prisoners' Legal Services of New York



Pro Bono Attorney from Dechert LLP, 2009-2010
Co-counsel, on behalf of Dechert LLP, on TD & OS litigation, 2010-2013

Lessons Learned

Juvenile Law Center is filled with smart lawyers who are passionate about important issues and also happen to be a lot of fun to work with - what’s not to love?

I started working with Juvenile Law Center immediately after taking the bar exam. My first project as a new lawyer was to draft an amicus brief for a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, opposing an overzealous prosecutor who wanted to charge teenage girls with the felony offense of child pornography for texting semi-nude photos of themselves. Juvenile Law Center’s advocacy on this “sexting” issue evolved from that amicus brief into a collaboration with the ACLU of Pennsylvania advocating against proposed legislation that would unnecessarily drag more young people into the juvenile justice system. Working with Riya Shah and Marsha Levick on this project, I learned how critical it is to be responsive to growing and changing needs, and how compelling it can be to use social science research and community service providers to lend support to legal advocacy.

When I moved to Dechert LLP, I joined the firm team working with Juvenile Law Center on the T.D. & O.S. solitary confinement litigation. My prior professional and personal relationship with the Juvenile Law Center staff was a boost to Dechert’s team. The staff and I trusted each other from our previous work together, and that short-hand helped us manage a sprawling federal litigation more smoothly. I learned a lot from Lourdes Rosado, Marsha Levick and Jessica Feierman about juvenile detention facilities’ worst and best practices for juveniles with mental illnesses, as well how to keep your advocacy message at the forefront in all of the big and small communications with counsel and the court during litigation.

Impact on my Career

Working at Juvenile Law Center was absolutely formative for my career. I knew even as a Temple Law student in Jenny Pokempner’s child welfare class and Marsha Levick’s juvenile justice class that I wanted to work on youth issues, so I was thrilled for the opportunity to spend a year working at Juvenile Law Center after graduation. I insisted on continuing my work with Juvenile Law Center as pro bono counsel while I was working at the firm. Spending so much time with the dedicated attorneys at Juvenile Law Center made it very clear to me the kind of advocate I aim to be: thoughtful, strategic and persistent. Thanks in no small part to the impact Juvenile Law Center made on my early career, I continue to work on behalf of young people in my current position challenging solitary confinement disciplinary sentences in New York State prisons.

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