Professor Kimberly Jordan wins Noel E. Kaech Juvenile Defender Award
Professor Kimberly Jordan, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, was honored for her contributions to juvenile defense at the 14th Annual Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit in May, where she received the Noel E. Kaech Juvenile Defender Award. The yearly event is a partnership between the Office of the Ohio Public Defender, the Children’s Law Center and the Central Juvenile Defender Center.
As director of Moritz’s Justice for Children Clinic, Jordan guides students as they represent at-risk children throughout the Columbus metropolitan area in abuse and neglect proceedings, immigration adjustments, delinquency charges, and other legal matters. Last year, after two years of work, Jordan and her students celebrated one of their most hard-fought victories. Their client, a teenager who fled his home country of Honduras, was granted asylum at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Chicago Asylum Office. Although the odds were stacked against them (only 15 percent of asylum cases at the Chicago Asylum Office are granted each year), Jordan and her students stood fast by their client and helped him prepare an asylum claim on the grounds of political persecution.
Jordan also works tirelessly to advocate for juvenile victims of sex and labor trafficking in Ohio. Since 2013, she has supervised the college’s Greif Fellowship in Juvenile Human Trafficking. Under her leadership, recent Moritz graduates represent trafficking victims in both criminal and civil issues, as well as providing immigration assistance to undocumented victims. Jordan has also trained numerous Ohioans on how to identify victims of trafficking, helped develop Franklin County Juvenile Court’s Empowerment Program, and served on the Ohio Supreme Court Workgroup “Courts’ Response to Trafficking of Children.”
The late Noel E. Kaech dedicated his career to advocating for others, especially children. He began his career in 1971 as City Prosecutor in Springfield, OH before serving as a domestic relations referee, as an assistant public defender and opening a private practice. The Noel E. Kaech Juvenile Defender Award is given each year to defenders who, in the spirit of Kaech, dedicate their careers to advocating for children within the juvenile justice system.
“One of the things that makes this position great is that I get to do both things that I love,” Jordan said. “I get to continue doing the work I love, representing kids and families and being in juvenile court, and I get to supervise young law students and attorneys who are just starting out in the field and experience their passion, excitement and growth as attorneys. That gives me a great deal of satisfaction and it makes it exciting to continue doing this work.”