About Lorilei W.
structural and systemic
sometimes a lawyer.
Lorilei W. (they/them) is a queer, trans non-binary Korean-American abolitionist, artist, and attorney dedicated to teaching legal advocates on how to engage in trauma-informed and antiracist advocacy in their individual capacities and collectively as movement advocates using an interdisciplinary approach informed by systems theory, design thinking, and management science. Lorilei's work is rooted in their lived experiences of imperialism as the child of an American soldier and Korean migrant, and as an adopted child to a Mexican family with deep roots in Guascuaro, Michoacán (affectionately dubbed "el ombligo del mundo").
Their expertise is further informed by over a decade of professional experiences ranging from volunteer to director at numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Legal Services NYC, and various Catholic Charities organizations. Lorilei has been a strategic accomplice to migrants across the nation, including in rural farms in Upstate NY, migrant camps in Tijuana, and multiple detention settings, from unaccompanied minors shelters to rural for-profit mass incarceration facilities in the Deep South.
In addition to providing independent services, Lorilei serves as co-faculty for the 2021-22 New York Law School Asylum Clinic and consultant to The Confined Arts, an arts and advocacy project out of Columbia Law School. They previously served as the Training Attorney for the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, where they designed and launched a national network of expert race equity legal advocates to lead sessions on racial justice advocacy, while also designing and leading sessions in trauma-informed advocacy, community-driven advocacy, structural racialization, systems thinking, practice management, and supervision. Lorilei's experiences building power in local community groups and among colleagues within nonprofit workspaces are the foundation for their approach and methodology on building sustainable, collaborative direct services advocacy models.
Lorilei is frequently conducting research to deepen their understanding of the systems of oppression that have impacted them directly. Currently, their focuses are:
Lorilei is admitted to the state bars of New York and Texas (inactive), the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, and the Southern and Eastern Federal District Courts of New York. They are a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis School of Law and the University of Maryland. Lorilei is also an alum of the Robert H. Smith School of Business's Quality Enhancement Systems and Teams (QUEST) Honors Program, a multidisciplinary program through which they studied systems thinking, project management, organizational design, and marketing.