Desjeneé Davis is known for helping people. When she worked as a paralegal with the Defender Association of Philadelphia’s Motions Unit before matriculating at Kline, someone wrote her name and number on a wall near the phones at a correctional facility with a note stating that she was the one to call for help.
Davis, a rising 3L, will continue to serve the public as the recipient of the 13th Annual Carl “Tobey” Oxholm Summer Fellowship. The award will support Davis during her summer internship with the Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit at Philadelphia’s Office of the City Solicitor. She will begin working remotely on June 1.
Davis became interested in the fellowship after attending the Annual Oxholm Colloquium on Public Service, which expanded her understanding of legal advocacy. “I didn’t know that there were other ways of serving the Philadelphia community besides criminal defense,” she said.
Davis was drawn to legal advocacy after family members had interactions with the legal system. While some people think of legal advocates as being a voice for the voiceless, Davis says no one is voiceless. However, not everyone’s voice is heard. Davis wants to create that platform for her future clients. “When I’m speaking in court, I’m not speaking for myself…. I’m not standing ahead of [my clients]. It’s a partnership—we’re doing this together,” Davis said.
“Desjeneé exemplifies the very best that Drexel Kline School of Law has to offer,” said Donna Gerson, associate dean of career strategies. “I am so thrilled that she will have the opportunity to work with the dedicated lawyers at the City Law Department.” Gerson noted that Davis is the first black woman to receive the Oxholm Fellowship.
The Oxholm Fellowship, which is funded by a gift from former Drexel Senior Vice President and General Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III, is awarded annually to a student who has demonstrated an interest in a career in local government.