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Rachel Neckes L’21

Rachel comes to Penn Law from Needham, Massachusetts and is eager to pursue a career providing legal assistance to indigent and incarcerated clients. While studying philosophy at Bates College, Rachel volunteered with and supervised the local Big Brother Big Sister program, serving a predominantly Somalian immigrant population.

After college, Rachel worked in fundraising at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) in Boston. She volunteered with the Cambridge Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition and the Boston Immigrant Justice Accompaniment Network to continue supporting immigrant communities. Her volunteer experiences motivated her to pursue a public interest career so that she could work more closely with clients and directly advocate for those impacted by incarceration and immigration detention.

During her 1L summer, Rachel interned with the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project in Boston, assisting detained clients with bond, parole, and defensive asylum cases. Throughout law school, Rachel has volunteered with and served on the boards of the Penn Law Immigrant Rights Project, the Criminal Record Expungement Clinic, and the Prison Legal Education Project. In each experience, Rachel worked with clients deeply impacted by the criminal legal system, pushing her to focus on a career in public defense.

Most recently, Rachel externed with the Federal Community Defender Capital Habeas Unit and spent her 2L summer with the Center for Appellate Litigation in New York. Working with these organizations on criminal appeals and post-conviction relief solidified her interest in appellate defense. She now participates in the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic, representing young people in dependency and custody cases, as well as those in pursuit of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. In her free time, she loves to hike, work crosswords, and root for the Boston Celtics.