Rachel Johnson-Farias

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Rachel Johnson-Farias

2017 Global Fellow
Founder of Esq. Apprentice

Rachel Johnson-Farias 2017 Global Fellow

Bold Idea 

Create debt-free access to law licensing for low-income youth of color via legal apprenticeship.


Esq. Apprentice creates a no-cost pipeline to legal careers for low-income youth of color—especially those with juvenile records. The mission of Esq. Apprentice, a California-based nonprofit, is to provide youth of color with the tools needed to complete California's legal apprenticeship program and become attorneys. To meet this goal, participants will complete a four-year course of part-time study, which emphasizes legal writing and research. Esq. Apprentice will improve the employability and lives of youth by creating meaningful opportunities to obtain legal skills and employment.


Rachel Johnson-Farias, the founding director of Esq. Apprentice, has dedicated her legal career to making the law more accessible to low-income people and communities of color. Rachel graduated with honors from Occidental College and obtained a B.A. in Critical Theory and Social Justice. She went on to earn her Juris Doctor degree from U.C. Berkeley, School of Law. During law school, Rachel received the Francine Diaz Memorial Award for her commitment to social justice through legal services and advocacy. After completing her legal education, Rachel was awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship to implement California's first juvenile reentry/record sealing clinic, the Starting Over Strong (SOS) program. Rachel's prior experience working with low-income clients and dedication to empowering youth led her to create Esq. Apprentice—a nonprofit that provides legal training to non-traditional law students of color. By paving a debt-free path to law licensing via legal apprenticeship, Esq. Apprentice seeks to change legal education in California, and eventually, the United States.

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