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Karina Tefft

Columbia Law School Public Interest Fellow

Karina joined NCLEJ as a Columbia Law School Public Interest Fellow in September 2019. Karina is a graduate of the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, where she served as Co-Director of the National Lawyer’s Guild’s CUNY Chapter, as a member of CUNY’s Moot Court team, and helped launch CUNY’s law student advocate group to support the work of FedFam4Life, an organization that provides legal support and advocates for the rights of people incarcerated and formerly incarcerated in federal prisons. At CUNY, Karina also participated in the Community Economic Development Clinic and the Economic Justice Project Clinic, where she provided direct representation in Fair Hearings to protect individuals’ access to government benefits in New York City. During her law school summers, Karina worked at the Bronx Defenders in its Civil Action Practice, focusing on housing defense for low-income New York City tenants, and New Economy Project, where she worked on impact litigation to protect the rights of indigent debtors and staffed the New York City Financial Justice Hotline. Karina also worked at NCLEJ prior to the start of her fellowship, where she worked on impact litigation to protect the rights of indigent debtors subject to burdensome civil and financial penalties from the state, and continues to work on these issues during her fellowship.

Prior to law school Karina engaged in grassroots policy organizing in Pennsylvania to support the movement to end mass incarceration and the criminalization of poverty. Karina received her undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Creative Writing from Susquehanna University.