MoForever Alumni News - Winter 2019

MoForever Winter 2019 | 24 Helping the Most People But Seth credits his work on special education projects at MoFo for preparing him to excel in his next job in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), as well as at his position at NCYL. At ED, Seth worked primarily on issues affecting children in grades K–12. There, interactions with children’s advocates made him acutely aware of the unmet needs among the most vulnerable students across the 17,000 public school districts of the U.S. That awareness has driven him to think big. “With the federal government as your client,” Seth says, “you get more freedom to explore what is truly in the public’s interest. You can really dig in, using your own judgment, and figure out how to help the most people through both laws and policy work.” Seth’s experience digging in helps him at NCYL, where his work requires discovering the most challenging problems of a community. NCYL’s focus areas include foster care, education, health, mental health, juvenile justice, and immigration. “Yet,” he says, “NCYL is still small enough that we’re not pigeonholed into any one area.” Seth points to this as an important factor that drew him to NCYL over other public interest organizations. All projects involve vulnerable youths, but otherwise, the attorneys get to explore varying systems and develop diverse arguments invoking myriad rights. “I don’t think I’ve ever written the same sentence twice,” Seth says. Because NCYL focuses on systemic change, when its lawyers consider taking on a case they have to ask, “How much, if at all, is this going to change the system? How many people are going to be helped by it?” “WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS YOUR CLIENT . . . YOU GET MORE FREEDOM TO EXPLORE WHAT IS TRULY IN THE PUBLIC’S INTEREST.”