Morrison & Foerster Alumni News - Winter 2020

23 | MoForever Winter 2020 ALUMNI UPDATE PRO BONO Public interest and social justice issues have always been paramount to Maya Ingram. As a child of two criminal defense attorneys, she grew up in courtrooms, witnessing firsthand the challenges people face to getting equal access to counsel, economic opportunities, and education and seeing how going through the criminal justice system impacts their lives. “It really opened my eyes to how important it is to help meet the unmet needs of the communities I live in,” Maya explains, “and it made me want to work on issues with large-scale impact.” She just needed to find an avenue to fulfill her passion. Now, as a legislative attorney in the ACLU’s Capitol office who advances civil rights and liberties related to issues such as immigration, voting, reproductive justice, and economic justice, she works to benefit millions of people in California. Day after day, Maya drafts legislation, finds state legislators to author it, and negotiates with stakeholders and the governor’s office while shepherding the proposed legislation through policy and fiscal hearings. She also weighs in on proposals others put forth, opposing those harmful to the public interest. These efforts can take years of back and forth struggle to ultimately culminate in success. But as the victories pile up, it’s clear that Maya’s work results in positive changes that benefit all Californians. Fighting for Sensible State Legislation The California legislature has recently been reexamining its institutions and systems, particularly the impact punishments have had after 20 or 30 years in effect. Many laws no longer make sense today. One legacy Maya worked to remedy involved California’s practice of suspending the driver’s licenses of people who cannot afford to pay off their traffic tickets. “Millions of Californians had their licenses suspended not because they were unsafe drivers, but because they were literally too poor to pay their tickets. There were hundreds of thousands of current suspensions, which were harming Californians’ ability to drive to work, take their kids to school, and get to family medical appointments,” Maya says. In this case, economic justice was mostly about awareness. “No one realized we were suspending so many licenses every year. When we showed SAFEGUARDING CIVIL RIGHTS & DRIVING ECONOMIC SECURITY