July 25, 2022

July 2022: Olivia Hudnut

Olivia Hudnut, Co-Chair, ACS Los Angeles Lawyer Chapter; Deputy Public Defender, County of Ventura

Olivia Hudnut (She/Her)

Co-Chair, ACS Los Angeles Lawyer Chapter; Deputy Public Defender, County of Ventura

Over two years ago, the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor shook our nation to its core and forced some people to reckon with systemic racism for the first time. When the leadership of our ACS chapter convened in the summer of 2020, we knew that we needed to use our platform to uplift the voices of BIPOC attorneys and advocates to help educate our community and encourage people to take action to incite meaningful, lasting change. I recommended we create a series of events on racial justice and the law modeled after a seminar taught by Jody Armour on Stereotypes, Prejudice, and the Rule of Law at USC. I recalled how his evocative classes had helped our classmates process and better understand systemic racism.

The first event of our series, moderated by Professor Jody Armour, featuring Tiffany Blacknell and Professor Fred Smith, centered on systemic racism, constitutional law, and the criminal punishment system. The conversation was timely, heartfelt, and inspiring. I felt incredibly proud to be putting on this program through ACS and it encouraged me to pursue my passion of becoming a public defender. Little did I know, just under a year later, I would be starting as a deputy public defender in Ventura County.

Within a week of working as a deputy public defender, I had learned more than I had learned in months of internships. It was inspiring, exciting, meaningful, and overwhelming all at once. Becoming a public defender required skills that I had fostered through my involvement in ACS. I quickly learned to wear many hats. I was part constitutional lawyer, advocate, creative problem-solver, interpreter, and social worker. I had found my people and I was at home. When the work gets hard and the days go long, I find myself leaning on my community, including the ACS community that encouraged me on my path to public defense.

Learn more about the Lawyers of ACS »