After nearly a quarter century with the Washington, D.C.-based American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Mimi Laver is headed home up Interstate 95 for the next chapter in her career.
Laver has left the center to become chief of the child advocacy unit at the Defender Association of Philadelphia. The organization, with a budget of about $75 million, provides an array of free legal services in the city to those who need them, including counsel for children involved in child welfare cases.
“I think this is great opportunity to frame representation of kids in the context of their families,” Laver said, of her new job. “It was definitely time to get back to working closer with families.”
Laver comes to the position after serving as the director of legal representation projects at the Center on Children and the Law, where she helped launch and lead the National Alliance for Parent Representation.
Toward the end of her time at the center, Laver also helped launch the Family Justice Initiative, which brought together advocates for parent and child defense in the field of child welfare. The initiative was instrumental in securing new federal funds for legal support to both children and parents, a development that was quietly rolled out at the end of 2018 by child welfare officials in the Trump administration.
Laver “could not be arriving at a more critical time in Philadelphia, where important work is underway aimed at reducing our reliance on family separation and centering the voices and power of children and parents,” said Kathleen Creamer, who manages the Family Advocacy Unit for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. “Just as Mimi’s work at the American Bar Association indelibly moved the field forward, I am confident that Mimi’s work in this new role will unmistakably change Philadelphia for the better.”
Laver’s legal career began in Philadelphia after she graduated from Vassar College in 1987. After attending Temple Law School, she clerked at the Superior Court of Pennsylvania before serving as a deputy city solicitor for seven years.