Our Team

Jessa Royer

DC Justice Fellow

Jessa Royer(she/her) is one of DCJL’s first legal policy fellows in the class of 2023. She leads the probation and failure-to-appear campaigns.

She has made a longstanding commitment to public interest. When she started college, she knew she wanted to impact families meaningfully. She began working at after-school programs for at-risk youth and spending time with youth incarcerated at the youth detention center. After college, she was an education volunteer for Peace Corps Madagascar. Upon returning home, she began working as an intern under the leadership of Preston Love, the 2023 Nebraska State Senator nominee, gaining invaluable experience doing lobbying work. She met with the former Nebraska State Governor, Pete Ricketts, and the director of the Nebraska corrections, Scott Frakes. In addition to her lobbying work, she helped to plan a black history tour for black youth in Nebraska and met with individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. By night, she worked overnight shifts at a youth psychiatric facility. While they slept, she studied for the LSAT. 

In 2020, she moved to Washington, DC, to start at Howard Law School. During her three years, she volunteered for organizations like El Otra Lado, Community Legal Services, and other organizations offering legal services for homeless individuals. She interned with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, performing direct client representation for mothers who had lost their children to CPS and Truancy cases, as well as researched and drafted amendments to AFSA to expand parental termination periods for incarcerated parents. During her 2L year, she represented clients applying for expungement and record sealing in the reentry clinic. She promoted funding for DC policy, allowing recently incarcerated people to apply for occupational licenses.

The following summer, she advanced to the Civil Rights Corps, doing policy work on a national and state level. She worked on projects on bail reform, gun safety, and non-carceral community solutions. She also met with senators like Nikema Williams to help advance the End the Exception movement. In her 3L year, she joined the movement lawyering clinic, writing a legal brief that was used to advocate for virtual access to court in PG County, Maryland, lobbying for the freedom of Mutulu Shakur, and presenting findings to the United Nations in Switzerland on Omaha, Nebraska’s commitment to Sustainable Development for the black community.

During her law school career, she produced several research papers on Angola Prison, slave like-wages in the United States, ACE scores and Safe Haven Laws, the negatives of Guantanamo Bay, Police Brutality, and prison workforce development programs. Since graduating, she has continued to serve as an ambassador for Prison Fellowship and was admitted to the DC Bar.