Imagine going to law school with the intention of becoming a tax attorney and then doing an internship with the Texas Innocence Project and completely scrapping your previous plan. Meet Drew Willey.
Some time back I was fortunate to be in a group studying Joel Goza's book, America's Unholy Ghosts with Drew Willey. Drew and his wife Jessica founded Restoring Justice to provide needed legal services to the indigent population of Houston.
How Drew went from studying to be a tax attorney to fighting for the rights of those caught in the legal system and most in need of help is itself fascinating. But even more interesting is what Drew has to share about how the system actually works, what the needs of his clients and so many others, actually are, and ways that we call can be of help.
That our criminal justice system is broken is not news. What most of us don't know are the specific ways in which the rights of individuals are violated every day. Drew and his dedicated team are modeling ways to restore justice that we can replicate and expand upon.
I left this conversation with Drew both angry at the system and encouraged and inspired by the work that the people at Restoring Justice are doing each day.
Have a listen and then pass this conversation along and, if you can, take Drew's action suggestions and let's make the difference we can.
For a written transcript of this conversation go here.
Alongside his wife, Jessica, Drew Willey founded Restoring Justice. Drew left a career as an accountant to attend law school at the University of Houston Law Center. An internship with the Texas Innocence Network showed him firsthand how the legal system dehumanizes poor people, people of color, and those with mental health conditions.
Drew became a criminal defense attorney, primarily working on representation of the indigent. This work eventually led Drew to found Restoring Justice to not only provide high-quality, holistic counsel to those who need it the most, but also find ways to expose, disrupt, and fix the systemic racism and discrimination in our criminal justice system.
Drew’s work as a public defender and as the founder of Restoring Justice has been featured in publications like The New York Times, Texas Monthly, Texas Tribune, and the Houston Chronicle.
Connect with Drew and the Restoring Justice