August 15, 2023
By Deepali Gill
If/When/How’s Quick Question series highlights the work of our Reproductive Justice Fellows, introducing our network to the incredible advocates who are dedicating their lives to the movement to lawyer for reproductive justice. We’re so proud of the work they’re doing at placement organizations across the country.
Deepali Gill (Golden Gate University School of Law ’23) is a dedicated activist for racial, gender, reproductive, and economic justice. She is a Punjabi woman and the first in her family to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree and now a Doctorate.
Deepali has a wide variety of direct and indirect legal services experience working with various populations. After her first year of law school, she worked as an extern for an employment rights firm where she would often come across discrimination cases based on race, gender, pregnancy, and age. She then transitioned into an externship with the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, where she had the opportunity to work in the juvenile delinquency department and witnessed firsthand how the criminal justice system interacts with youth. The following summer, she worked as a Gender, Sexuality, and Reproductive Justice legal intern with the ACLU of NorCal, where she assisted with projects such as drafting know your rights guides, researching and drafting a portion of The Reproductive Health Behind Bars report, and analyzed various assembly and senate bills focused on ensuring that Californians have information to make decisions regarding intimate relationships free from discrimination. During her last year of law school, Deepali divided her time between two internships in the Fall and Spring semester. Throughout fall semester, she was a legal extern with Open Door Legal in their family law team and an intern with the Vera Institute of Justice, where she worked in the Ending Girl’s Incarceration Team. At Open Door Legal, she had direct experience with clients that ranged from conducting intakes, providing them with brief services on filing dissolution documents, and doing legal research as needed. Whereas at the Vera Institute of Justice, she reviews and codes case files of young people who were detained while they were pregnant to understand the pathways that brought them into custody and how to disrupt these pathways and invest in non-carceral placement options. She is currently an extern with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area on their Economic Justice team. Here she is researching and drafting memorandums regarding the possibility of the first public bank in San Francisco and assists in providing direct legal services to small business owners while continuing her internship with the Vera Institute of Justice.
In law school, Deepali continued to work in leadership roles where she could have an impact on diverse and marginalized groups. During her 1L year, she was the 1L representative for the Women’s Law Association and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. In those roles, she built community by encouraging 1Ls to attend panels, events, or expungement clinics. These efforts helped mitigate the lack of connection caused by the pandemic and increased student’s access to mentorship and volunteer opportunities. She is now the Co-Chair of the Women’s Law Association, the Co-Chair and Co-Founder of the South Asian Law Student Association, and the Executive Vice President of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. She is also a staff writer on Golden Gate University’s Race, Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice Journal, where she writes pieces that are focused on different policies and historical events that have left communities with intergenerational trauma. In her free time, Deepali likes to cook traditional Punjabi meals, crochet, workout, and spend time with her loved ones.
We asked Deepali Gill to tell us a little about herself as she prepares to begin her Reproductive Justice Fellowship year at Illinois Contraceptive Access Now (ICAN!) this fall.
If/When/How: Who are you?
Deepali Gill: Deepali Gill. My pronouns are she/her. I’m a California native who grew up in the Central Valley in a small town that goes by the name of Lathrop. I lived in Sacramento for a while for undergrad and then moved to San Francisco for law school, where I am currently residing. It is safe to say that Northern California is my home.
If/When/How: Where are you going?
DG: I am headed towards a career that is focused on breaking down barriers that restrict access to make decisions about reproductive health and intimate relationships.
If/When/How: When you are not lawyering, what do you get up to?
DG: When I’m not lawyering, I like to spend time with my loved ones. I also enjoy cooking traditional Punjabi food, crocheting, reading, and working out. In addition to all the hobbies that keep me busy, I also like to find time to binge watch my favorite reality TV shows with my partner and pet cat (Ivory).