DBT40 Honoree: Nicole Mozee
Staff Attorney, Delaware Volunteer Legal Services Inc. (Wilmington)
Why should you be chosen for DBT 40? My life calling is to serve the underserved and ensure equity in access to justice. I am passionate about providing quality legal services to the public. In a matter of two years, I have served as counsel in nearly 20 trials, with a 95% success rate, and obtained a dozen lifetime Orders of Protection from Abuse. After graduating law school, I returned to Delaware because I saw it as an opportunity to take all of my specialized skills and knowledge and invest in my community. I am committed to promoting activism within our community and eager to expand my efforts.
Professional accomplishments: Besides my trial record outlined above, I have served and advocated for almost 150 indigent clients. Some of my most difficult cases include sexual abuse. I have assisted several survivors of sexual violence and highlighted the problematic, pre-conceived notions based in rape culture and misogyny – eventually obtaining favorable outcomes for such clients. Furthermore, in February 2019, the Delaware Combined Campaign for Justice highlighted me as an outstanding professional dedicated to public interest. I the first recipient of the Chief Justice Rose E. Bird Award for Motivation in Pursuing Public Interest Law in New York City for my commitment to public service. I have also received numerous other awards for my commitment to civil rights and social justice. In 2014, I was awarded Best Oral Advocate for an intramural moot court competition. Upon graduating law school, I was recognized for completing 50 or more hours of pro bono service. I was selected as a commencement speaker at my law school graduation where I used my platform to promote public interest work.
Leadership examples: Professionally, I was recently voted in as the Vice Chair of Community and Legislative Relations for the Multicultural Judges and Lawyers (MJL) Section of the DSBA. Additionally, I provided the MJL Section an outline of a Street Law program for DE communities where the section could host free, educational seminars for the public about stop and frisk laws. In March 2018, I was selected as a speaker at the Delaware Women’s March where I highlighted themes of inclusion and advancement for women and other marginalized groups.
Vision: My office is launching a pro bono services program for landlord-tenant issues, and I want to help this program grow and spread awareness about it. I also envision building stronger relationships with legislators and/or committees of the Delaware General Assembly in order to become more knowledgeable of and be proactive about the development of laws that affect our clients. I also want to enhance my office’s social media presence to reach more of the Delaware community. Finally, I want to expand our services statewide to Kent and Sussex counties.
Community service: In the community, I volunteer my time to the Delaware Barrister’s community service events, such as their partnership with One Village Alliance: Raising Kings program to execute a stop and frisk and mock trial workshop. Every MLK holiday, I seek to serve others in a variety of ways. Additionally, I volunteered in the Delaware Combined Campaign for Justice’s annual Oktoberfest Guest Bartender event to fundraise for the organization. When time permits, I attend sessions of the Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow in both Wilmington and Newark. Although I am a public interest attorney with limited income, I made donations to the Delaware Combined Campaign for Justice in hopes of ensuring free legal services remain available to those in need.
Tell us a few things that aren’t on your LinkedIn profile: I absolutely love being physically active. I am an avid bicyclist and enjoy the many bike trails throughout Delaware. I grew up in a household where my parents always encouraged colorful conversation about political and socioeconomic issues affecting local, state and national communities. This was a contributing factor in my pursuit of a legal career. Additionally, my father was a lead plaintiff in an employment discrimination case that spanned nearly 30 years. The case eventually ended in his favor, but his story was an everlasting inspiration. My father had infinite admiration for the federal appellate Judge who decided his case and his attorney, which ultimately motivated me to be an advocate and a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. I hope my passion and commitment inspire others.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago? It is completely OK to deviate from the plan. Sometimes the way life is set up, things do not pan out the way we hope. However, there are multiple ways to achieve the same goal – be flexible.
What are you currently reading? “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics,” by Donna Brazile, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, Yoland Caraway and Veronica Chambers
What was your favorite work moment in the past year? Traveling to California for a conference on trial advocacy. Met wonderful attorneys from across the country and severely sharpened trial advocacy skills.
Family and education: Single, no kids. Bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish studies and psychology minor from University of Delaware. Juris Doctor from New York Law School.