Born into a single-parent household in Camden, where she graduated from Brimm Medical Arts High School, the third-year Rutgers Law–Camden student knows intimately of the city’s well-documented challenges, but even more so she knows – and is proud to say – that Camden is where she and her family call home.
“I came close to quitting my first year,” recalls Crespo, of acclimating to the rigorous academic demand of law school and questioning if it was for her.
Thankfully, Crespo’s immense passion to help “every protected class you can think of” was stronger than even she might have anticipated. Ultimately, this passion inspired her classmates and her professors, and put Crespo on track for success at Rutgers Law–Camden.
Sandra Simkins, a clinical professor at Rutgers Law–Camden, where she directs the Children’s Justice Clinic, was immediately impressed when meeting “Ivy,” who served as a clinic intern in 2012.
“Ivy possesses a passion for social justice issues and is an admired leader at the law school on pro bono issues. She is not afraid to speak truth to power,” notes Simkins.
Rutgers–Camden Clinical Professor of Law Sarah Ricks, who taught Crespo in her Civil Rights Litigation course, joins Simkins in praising Crespo for making a difference in class discussions and in her extracurricular activities.
“Iveliz gives us hope for the future of the legal profession. She brings with her a vast amount of experience that is relevant to numerous policy issues. Hers is a voice that needs to be heard,” says Ricks, who with Simkins, nominated Crespo for the David Dolgenos Memorial Award, which honors students who have overcome personal obstacles in the path of a J.D.
No award is necessary to prove that Crespo herself is indicative of the city’s great potential. The Georgian Court University alumna is graduating this month with an array of accomplishments to tout. A recipient of a competitive fellowship from the Peggy Browning Fund, Crespo has been working on school bullying cases at the employment rights firm Costello & Mains in Mount Laurel, and has lined up a clerkship after graduation with the Hon. Mary White of Superior Court’s Family Division in Gloucester County.
A native Spanish speaker, Crespo is leaving law school, energetic to represent the people she cares about most, the community that raised her. “I want to graduate from here and work here, representing the people I want to, the people of Camden.”
To law students just starting their own legal educations, especially those who might come from distressed cities like her own, she says to stick it out.
“You won’t know if law school is for you until you figure out what you love and what is worth fighting for. If you want to be an advocate, you have to tap into your passion.”