Persyn Law & Policy relentlessly pursues true and meaningful equity and inclusion for all Americans, especially the most vulnerable. To get there, PLP focuses on removing barriers to opportunity--particularly where they block America's youth.
Mary Kelly Persyn, founder and principal of Persyn Law & Policy, grounds her solo practice in MLK’s edict that “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” A passionate advocate for the most vulnerable among us, she focuses on criminal justice and police policy reform and on raising awareness of child trauma in our justice and education systems.
Mary Kelly now serves full-time as director of the Hanna Institute at Hanna Boys Center, but continues to represent clients as amici curiae in the federal courts of appeal.
PLP's representative engagements. PLP represents the student plaintiffs in Arce v. Douglas, a civil rights and education case in the District of Arizona; provided policy, legal, and strategy advice to the Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Policing (San Francisco); and represents the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children as amicus curiae in the U.S. Supreme Court and the Ninth and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeal.
Mary Kelly's community and professional service. Mary Kelly is a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Youth Wellness and statewide steering committee of the California Coalition to Combat Childhood Adversity. She serves on the National Advisory Board of EmbraceRace and the Steering Committee of Women United, which supports the policy and advocacy work of the United Way of the Bay Area. Mary Kelly has been a member and major supporter of the American Constitution Society for twelve years; she currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Lawyer Chapter.
Mary Kelly's background. Prior to founding PLP, Mary Kelly practiced law for several years at marquee law firms, most recently Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in San Francisco, and served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable John T. Noonan, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Her law practice focused on criminal defense and appellate matters, and she participated in cases at all levels of both state and federal courts, including twice participating in teams arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Mary Kelly is a member of the bars of the State of California, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, and Central Districts of California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mary Kelly graduated with honors from Columbia Law School. Prior to her legal career, she was a scholar of English Romantic poetry, earning a M.A. and Ph.D. with honors from the University of Washington and teaching literature and writing for over ten years. The Romantics’ passion for individual vision, creativity, and human dignity still inspire her view of the human condition.
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Selma, Alabama, 1965
Ground your practice in love.