Legal Aid Society


Marisa O'Toole is Running for Justice

For Marisa O’Toole, running the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon and her time interning with The Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Law Unit this summer are both deeply personal.

She was scheduled to run her first marathon along Washington, DC’s C&O Canal last year, but it was canceled due to the pandemic. Just finishing is an admirable goal for a first-time marathoner, but Marisa is set on honoring her late cousin – who ran multiple Boston Marathons – with a Boston Marathon qualifying time herself. This may seem like a lofty goal to some, but she is no stranger to the grit needed to finish a tough race. Coming from a brief cross country background in Maine and having run the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Race in DC she knows the required determination.

When she was searching for her summer internship last winter at NYU Law, Legal Aid came highly recommended. So far, her experience has lived up to the hype. “I talked to several people at NYU who interned at LAS and they were all glowing about their experience and how much they had learned from it. They spoke of the client interactions, substantive casework, and passion of the people with whom they worked.

So far this summer, it’s all been true. She’s working with the Immigration Law Unit, learning about what it takes to navigate a system that is stacked against our immigrant clients. But the gravity of this work doesn’t phase her at all: Marisa comes from a family who all work or have worked in social services. “I’m in this because I see people as people, and I want to work alongside them, so that, together, we can make the world less harsh,’” she says about her work.

In addition to running, all Team LAS members commit to raising funds in support of The Legal Aid Society’s work. Visit our team page to make a gift in support of our legal units and projects providing life-saving services to New Yorkers in need.