Meet CLASI attorney Marissa Band!
I first came to CLASI in 2006 as an intern and they have not been able to get rid of me since! I began work with CLASI as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in 2008, and was hired as a staff attorney in 2010. I spent a number of years in CLASI’s Disabilities Law Program before moving to CLASI’s Delaware Medical-Legal Partnership (“DMLP”) where I am presently a Supervising Attorney handling primarily immigration, public benefits, and some employment related matters.
Before my employment with CLASI, I obtained my law degree magna cum laude from Rutgers University, where I also obtained a Master of Public Affairs and Politics. Prior to graduate school, I worked as an Administrative Assistant, and volunteered on the crisis line and outreach program of the University of Michigan’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center. As a volunteer, I would be dispatched to places like the emergency room to provide both crisis intervention and advocacy services to victims following sexual or domestic violence victimization. Advocating for survivors who were not in a position to effectively self-advocate inspired me to apply to law school to be an empathetic advocate for those who have been disempowered. Additionally, growing up with an “invisible” disability influenced my choice to do disabilities and health rights advocacy at CLASI.
Fun fact about me: I almost went to art school instead of a traditional college! My parents managed to convince me to pursue a traditional college education and I am glad they did because at CLASI I get to do important work EVERY DAY. One of the cases of which I am really proud was that of a young man with significant disabilities who had been failed by multiple systems. He had not attended any high school and had no support system. When he did reach out for help he was denied services by a state disability services agency. He became homeless shortly thereafter. After I got involved, I was able to get him evaluated for and enrolled in special education, and we filed and won an appeal of the state disability services he had been denied. That state agency provided him with housing in a supportive living arrangement, as well as other services. I do wish CLASI and organizations like us had more funding to assist even more people like my client.