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Equal Justice Works Announces Diego Cartagena as the Recipient of the Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award

Diego Cartagena is the President and CEO of Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles, CA.

See original press release on Equal Justice Works’ website.

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 14, 2023—Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, today announced that it will honor Diego Cartagena, President and CEO of Bet Tzedek, as the first ever recipient of the 2023 Equal Justice Works Distinguished Alumni Award at the organization’s Scales of Justice event on October 24, 2023.

“Diego is an exceptional example of the difference that one person can make in a public interest law career,” said Verna Williams, CEO of Equal Justice Works. “We are thrilled to celebrate his contributions through his career of service at the 2023 Scales of Justice event.”

The Equal Justice Works Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an Equal Justice Works alum who has made outstanding contributions as a leader in public interest law; has distinguished themselves through creating lasting impact in the communities they serve; embodies the organizational values of passion, community, service, opportunity, and equal access to justice; and reflects the transformative power of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship.

“I am incredibly humbled and honored to be receiving the 2023 Equal Justice Works Distinguished Alumni Award,” said Diego. “More than anything, I hope it serves as a reflection of, and inspiration for, the change we can each accomplish when we come together as a community and profession under the vision of an organization like Equal Justice Works.”

“We are thrilled to recognize and celebrate Diego’s achievements as our inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient,” said Lynbea Toombs, Director of Alumni Relations at Equal Justice Works. “Diego’s accomplishments and commitment to the public interest speak to the true depth of the impact that our Fellows can have, both professionally and in their communities. With the introduction of the Distinguished Alumni Award, we have an exciting opportunity to continue recognizing the outstanding achievements of Equal Justice Works alumni on the many impactful paths they take.”

As a 2004 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Diego supported low-income teen mothers and fathers in court by providing them with legal advocacy and outreach in the areas of family and immigration law.

Diego’s career has been dedicated to improving access to justice. Following his Fellowship, Diego went on to serve as pro bono director for The Alliance for Children’s Rights, while simultaneously serving as program director for the agency’s Probate Legal Guardianship program. Diego is now the President and CEO of Bet Tzedek. In his role, Diego manages Bet Tzedek’s 110-person staff and guides the work of the organization’s 1,600 volunteers and pro bono attorneys, who contribute 40,000 hours each year to help tens of thousands of Bet Tzedek clients. He also serves as a member of the Justice in Aging Board of Directors.

Click here for more information about the Scales of Justice.


About Equal Justice Works

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. As the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, nonprofit legal aid organizations, and supporters to promote a lifelong commitment to public service and equal justice.