Get to know ACLU of WV Legal Director, Loree Stark. We recently sat down with Loree to learn more about her background and why she decided to join team #ACLUWV. Below is our Q and A.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up in Paducah, Kentucky. I was fortunate enough to be raised in a union household, and the stability that provided enabled me to pursue opportunities that might not have been available to me otherwise.
I decided to attend law school after working in journalism for five years post-undergrad. I enjoyed writing and editing, but after a few years in the field it became clear to me that my passion for social and economic justice was leading to me a career as an advocate.
I focused on telecom and public interest work in law school. In my final year, I spent a semester interning in a Commissioner’s office at the FCC, where I focused on rural broadband reach and working to ensure access to just, reasonable telephone rates for inmates and their loved ones.
After law school, I worked at the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund, providing direct legal services to vulnerable individuals and families in Eastern Kentucky. In 2016, I moved to Charleston to join Mountain State Justice, a nonprofit law firm devoted to providing aggressive legal advocacy for low-income West Virginians.
What about the ACLU of WV’s mission most resonates with you?
Economic justice. I am passionate about Appalachia and have had the opportunity in my legal career to learn so much from people in our region about the problems that they face. Many of the systemic injustices facing West Virginians are also issues impacting marginalized communities across the country—draconian restrictions on reproductive health access, the criminalization of poverty, and the consequences of mass incarceration, just to name a few. The ACLU of West Virginia is uniquely positioned to protect the rights of our most vulnerable.
What are you most looking forward to about being Legal Director?
I have a small print in my office from a local letterpress shop with three words: “Do the work.” Right now in West Virginia, there’s a lot of work to be done, and I’m excited to jump in and do my part with the smart, talented team at the ACLU of West Virginia.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I work out a few mornings a week at the gym, jog, and watch a truly frightening amount of television. I’m trying to learn—with mild to moderate success—how to play racquetball. I put a lot of thought into what I would like to do in my spare time, and right now that list includes reading, learning archery, and setting aside time to write.