Kel O’Hara

Equal Justice Works Fellow, Sponsored by Intel Corporation and Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Area of expertise: Gender-based violence and harassment; Campus sexual violence response and Title IX; LGBTQ justice; Trauma-informed and culturally competent lawyering

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” – Cornel West

You should get to know them because:

  • As a member of ERA’s legal team, Kel’s self-designed fellowship is the first project in the country to focus on supporting LGBTQ student survivors of sexual violence in school under Title IX.
  • Kel joins ERA with six years of experience advocating for trauma-informed, survivor-centric, and culturally competent institutional response to sexual violence.
  • Kel’s approach to legal advocacy is influenced by their background in American Studies, campus organizing, and trauma counseling. They are committed to work that encourages healing and reimagines systems of accountability to best support marginalized students.
  • During their time at Berkeley Kel founded the Survivor Advocacy Project, a legal services group dedicated to helping student survivors involved in on-campus sexual misconduct investigations.
  • At Berkeley Kel also served on the Student Advisory Board of PATH to Care (Berkeley’s sexual violence support center), the board of Berkeley Law Queer Caucus (Trans and Gender Non-Conforming subcommittee chair), and the editorial board of the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice (Marketing Editor).
  • Kel’s legal work experience includes clerkships at Victim Rights Law Center, Family Violence Law Center, GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders, and Family Violence Appellate Project.
  • As an undergraduate at Tufts University Kel built on their campus activism work to create an award-winning senior capstone project about sexual violence in higher education.
  • Kel is a certified rape crisis counselor and volunteered in the emergency room of Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan before attending law school.

Alumnux of:

  • UC Berkeley School of Law, Juris Doctorate (2019); awarded pro bono honors with highest distinction and the Jim Fahey Safe at Home Fellowship (in recognition of their work on behalf of domestic violence survivors).
  • Tufts University, BA in American Studies and Drama (2014); awarded magna cum laude and Best American Studies Senior Capstone

Outside of work:

  • Kel is a frequent hiker, biker, and nature admirer on the hunt for the perfect hot springs.
  • A life-long drama queen, they now performs as a drag king at venues across the Bay Area.
  • Kel is an aerial lover and sometimes-instructor, and can frequently be found upside down.

More about Kel.

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