What Being a Clyde Murphy Fellow Means to Jordan Hall

 Jordan Hall, 2018 Clyde Murphy Fellow

Jordan Hall, 2018 Clyde Murphy Fellow

Growing up in a small Georgia town, Jordan Hall was always interested in learning law - he just didn’t know how he’d get there. He decided to study philosophy and Spanish at Morehouse College, where for a while he played basketball and dreamed of becoming a sports manager. But his perspective changed after graduation, when he spent a few months working with at-risk youth at a juvenile placement in Indiana. During his 16-hour shifts supervising wards of the state, many who struggled with addiction and criminal records, Jordan noticed an extreme distaste for education among the kids.

“They didn’t fail the system, the system failed them,” Jordan reflects. “I wanted to get into law so I could help change the system.”

After two years out of school, Jordan decided to pursue his law degree. His first time in Chicago was during a winter visit to check out Loyola University, which offered the possibility for a dual degree program in education policy and law. After his first year studying law, Jordan was admitted into the education policy program at Loyola, with his sights set on becoming an education secretary down the line.

In the summer of 2017, he joined Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights to intern with the Education Equity Project. As an intern, he kept busy doing policy research, facilitating know-your-rights trainings for students, and conducting racial equity impact analysis for proposed school actions.

“Chicago is a perfect storm of all the types of things that can go wrong with education,” says Jordan, who wants to see more equitable distribution of funds in our school system.

“That summer at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee was a great experience. I learned a lot about education policy and law, specifically in Chicago.”

Those lessons helped Jordan finish his program at Loyola, where he now has a Masters degree in Education Policy in addition to a JD in law. After graduating this May, he decided to apply for the Clyde Murphy Fellowship in order to return to the work at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee.

Now, Jordan focuses on direct representation for students across Illinois who are facing expulsion and other exclusionary discipline. He also works to connect pro bono lawyers with clients who need representation at their expulsion hearings.

“It’s truly been an honor to be a Clyde Murphy Fellow,” says Jordan. “Being at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee gives me the opportunity to be in the community and actually help people.”

Working directly with experienced civil rights attorneys, Jordan is taking advantage of the Clyde Murphy Fellowship in the best possible way - by affecting students’ lives for the better at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

Rena Beltran