"Where Are They Now?": Simran Settles into Her New Job!

Program News
December 18, 2023

This month, JPAP is launching a new series for our newsletters – “Where Are They Now?” – to catch up with and celebrate our former team members. Today, we feature Simran Surtani (She/Her), who interned with JPAP from January to May of 2022. Having graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Public Health, Simran is now a Paralegal Clerk for Rosen, Bien, Galvan, and Grunfeld (RBGG), a law firm in San Franciso. In this position, Simran works on class action lawsuits on behalf of incarcerated people, including cases concerning individuals with physical and psychiatric disabilities, jail, parole, and prison staff misconduct, and more. Learn more about her journey below!

Simran’s commitment to public health issues within the criminal legal system predates her work with JPAP. A book she read in her senior year of high school, Going Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation, drew her to this field, introducing her to the pervasive role that jails and prisons play in the lives of many. Specifically struck by poor health conditions in the prison system, Simran initially wanted to pursue a health profession in the correctional field. Once in college, however, she began to find this angle restrictive, instead choosing to get involved in policy work as well as individual and systemic advocacy on behalf of incarcerated people with health issues. This is when she found her way to JPAP.

As a JPAP intern, Simran was able to thoroughly explore her interest in individual advocacy. She worked closely with JPAP Re-Entry Advocate Robert Davis (He/Him) and former JPAP Senior Peer Navigator Andre Gray (He/Him), driving around DC to help clients move into their new housing, accompany clients to medical appointments, bring clients donations, and more. She also visited the DC Jail with Robert and JPAP Supervising Attorney Natasha Walls-Smith to meet with clients and interviewed clients for JPAP’s newsletter. Simran remembers the close relationships that she built with JPAP’s clients fondly and misses these connections in her present work.

At RGBB, Simran works on class action cases involving large groups of clients. One of the firm’s cases specifically aims at improving conditions of confinement for incarcerated people with physical disabilities. Although this systemic approach allows for less time with individual clients, Simran continues to conduct interviews with class members (individuals involved in class action suits) and visit prisons. Additionally, Simran conducts individual advocacy for some clients. She speaks with them at length about issues that they are facing and crafts 2-3-page letters requesting needed accommodations on their behalf. Simran’s work with JPAP greatly informed her current approach to client relationships, teaching her to find common ground with clients and build rapport over shared interests.

In her free time, you can find Simran exploring San Francisco – she specifically enjoys riding the cable car around the city and looking at the sea lions – reading, taking spin classes, and thinking about law school. In fact, she just took the LSAT and is waiting for her results. We are so excited to hear about the wonderful work that Simran has been doing with RBGG and hope to see her back on the East Coast soon!

Simran smiles at the camera.
Simran, a woman with light-brown skin, long brown hair, and brown eyes, smiles at the camera in front of a cherry blossom in DC.

Contact us to learn about our services today!