Juvenile Law Center

Neha Desai

Staff Attorney, National Center for Youth Law

Former Juvenile Law Center Zubrow Fellow, 2006-2008
Staff Attorney, 2008-2010

Lessons Learned

I remember observing juvenile delinquency hearings from the back of Judge Ciavarella’s courtroom in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania in anticipation of filing the Kids for Cash complaint. At the time, we didn’t yet know that the judge had taken kickbacks from the detention facilities where he placed youth. I also recall many discussions with my foster youth clients in which they shared their stories, dreams, and aspirations with me. Finally, I enjoyed spending time with my coworkers who were as kind as they were brilliant. Honestly, I learned more things at Juvenile Law Center than I could ever name. But for starters, I learned the importance of continuously reevaluating strategy as a situation evolves; the art of developing compelling, precise arguments; and how not to be deterred by seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Impact on my Career

My career has been impacted in the most significant and the most seemingly insignificant ways by my time at Juvenile Law Center. My work at Juvenile Law Center influenced everything from my philosophical orientation about the issues faced by system-involved youth to the way I organize my files. Juvenile Law Center opened doors for me professionally and has inspired me to hopefully continue on this path for the rest of my career.

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