Mary Kelly Persyn, New Teacher Center’s Vice President of Legal and Strategic Advocacy, has been elected a member of the American Law Institute (ALI).
ALI, which celebrates its 100th birthday this year, produces scholarly work meant to update or otherwise improve the law. The organization includes judges, lawyers, and law professors from the U.S. and around the world who are “selected on the basis of professional achievement and demonstrated interest in improving the law,” according to the institute’s website. “To further its work, the Institute elects individuals who reflect the excellence and diversity of today’s legal profession. Membership in the American Law Institute is a distinct professional honor, and the number of elected members is limited.”
New Teacher Center’s Chief Operating Officer and interim co-CEO, Arthur Mills IV, stated that “being named to the American Law Institute is an honor befitting Dr. Persyn’s career-long commitment to serving the legal community and advocating for equity and justice. I’m thrilled to celebrate this recognition with Mary Kelly and excited to follow her future impact that will benefit us all.”
Persyn’s law practice comprises service to New Teacher Center as in-house counsel and advocacy director and pro bono service as amicus counsel to the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, where she also chairs the amicus committee. Persyn Law & Policy, which she founded in 2015, has worked to advance the profession’s understanding of how toxic stress and childhood trauma, including trauma inflicted by race- and gender-based discrimination, impact the health, well-being, and life outcomes of affected youth. She has published articles, op-eds, and literary criticism in addition to authoring appellate amicus briefs that provide counsel to state and federal courts on a range of matters, among them DACA and gender-affirming care for minors.
Persyn earned her bachelor’s degree from UCLA and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and editor-in-chief of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.