Kendra Spearman joined Amata in 2017 through Amata's collaboration with IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law's Solo & Small Practice Incubator program. The program provides Chicago-Kent graduates who seek to launch their own practices with trainings, workshops, mentoring, and other resources. Amata is thrilled to be a part of this collaboration by providing a year of free office space and access to Amata amenities as participants begin their law careers.
After finishing her time in the incubator, Kendra kept her law practice at Amata. She is continuing to grow and take on new clients with Spearman Law, LLC.
I grew up in a poor, single parent home. Education was my lifeline. So, when I learned of the racial disparities caused by public education funding, I became indignant. This is what inspired me to go to law school and become a civil rights lawyer. I would soon learn that there are numerous racial disparities, not only in education, but that run the gamut of employment, housing, healthcare, and especially the criminal justice system.
There’s a significant issue with mass incarceration but an even deeper issue with factors that lead to incarceration, especially for young people on the West and South sides of Chicago. In practicing criminal defense, I discovered that many of these young people need an advocate in and out of the courtroom. Plagued with issues of poverty, gun violence, a dearth of resources and positive activities as well as broken homes, it’s not hard to understand why so many young people come into contact with the criminal justice system.
This is why I launched Junior Advocacy. Junior Advocacy is a youth empowerment and legal education program designed to help young people avoid the criminal justice system and to reduce recidivism. Junior Advocacy accomplishes this in the following ways:
- Establishing partnerships with schools and youth groups to teach legal rights and legal advocacy
- Teaching mock trial programs to promote public speaking, critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- Exposing youth to career options in law and public service
- Offering juvenile criminal defense on a charitable basis
It is my prayer that these efforts will help to reduce gun violence, gang participation, and provide young people an alternative to the streets, while increasing the number of minorities that enter the field of law.
Moreover, Junior Advocacy gives me the opportunity to advocate for young people while teaching them to be advocates for themselves and others. It also gives me an opportunity to share my story of overcoming poverty and hardship to become a lawyer.
Additionally, my work with Junior Advocacy is a way of sharing my faith and love for God. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them, is a ‘dry-as-dust’ religion.” Junior Advocacy is thus my ministry.
Spearman Law, LLC is a civil rights law firm based in Chicago, IL offering services in employment discrimination, police misconduct, and adult and juvenile criminal defense. As a minister and founding attorney, Kendra Spearman believes in God’s call for love and social justice. Spearman Law is her way of showing the love of God while fighting for social justice.