B.A., Miami University of Ohio; B.S., Miami University of Ohio; J.D., University of Michigan
Carolyn Perez is an attorney at the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. The Legal Clinic provides pro bono civil legal assistance to families and individuals experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in the District of Columbia. At the Legal Clinic, Professor Perez recruits, trains, and mentors pro bono attorneys’ handling of a variety of legal matters. In addition to supporting pro bono attorneys, Professor Perez maintains an active case load—representing clients in cases related to shelter, housing, public benefits, street rights, and consumer issues. She also conducts Know Your Rights Trainings at shelters and day centers and provides on-site management and expertise at Legal Clinic intakes.
Prior to working for the Legal Clinic, Professor Perez spent 10 years at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as a Counsel in their Litigation Practice Group. In private practice, Professor Perez represented clients through all stages of litigation on a wide array of issues involving white collar criminal defense, complex civil commercial, defamation, government contracts, class actions, government investigations, anti-trust, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the False Claims Act. She also has experience handling regulatory, policy, and transnational matters.
While at Akin Gump, Professor Perez was a leader in the firm’s pro bono practice—serving as a long standing member of the pro bono committee and managing a diverse pro bono case load. Professor Perez represented low income clients in collaboration with many of the prominent legal services organizations in the District of Columbia including: Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, National Association of the Deaf, National Veterans Legal Services Program, Tahirih Justice Center, Network for Victim Recovery, Blinded Veterans of America, Whitman-Walker Health, Equal Justice Works, Legal Aid Society, Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, and DC Bar Pro Bono Program. Some of Professor Perez’s pro bono client victories include leading a winning trial team in an immigration deportation proceeding, obtaining the largest recorded settlement of its kind for a deaf homeless client in an ADA suit against a sheriff’s office, setting precedent for widows obtaining military benefits whose husbands suffered with PTSD and committed suicide, assisting numerous clients obtain Social Security disability benefits, and helping families prevent evictions and shelter terminations. She also developed and led an initiative to partner undergraduate students with applicants for Social Security disability benefits. Professor Perez received the Lois G. Williams Extraordinary Service Award from the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless in 2016, the Pro Bono Associate of the Year award in 2011 and the Litigation Matter of the Year in 2017 from Akin Gump’s DC Office. She was also on the Capital Pro Bono High Honor Roll for the D.C. Courts from 2012-2017.
Prior to law school, Professor Perez worked for Congressman Sander M. Levin (MI-12) in his legislative, campaign, and district offices. She also served as the Youth Director for the 12th District of Michigan Kerry Presidential Campaign, worked for Michigan State Senator Ken DeBeaussaert, and clerked for the Macomb County Corporation Counsel. Additionally, Professor Perez interned for the Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina of the U.S. District Court, Washington, D.C. and for the D.C. Public Defender Service.