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Gregory Pleasants
USC Gould School of Law

Gregory Pleasants

Lecturer in Law

699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA

Last Updated: August 28, 2019




Gregory Pleasants is an attorney and social worker at the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Immigration and Justice. At Vera, Pleasants is the program director of the National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP), which provides appointed, government-funded defense counsel to people who are detained by the Department of Homeland Security, unrepresented by counsel and found mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings because of a serious mental health condition.

Pleasants joined Vera in 2015 after a two-year position helping the Executive Office for Immigration Review to create the initial NQRP program framework. His work on the NQRP follows service as both a federal public defender in San Diego and a state public defender in North Carolina, and is a return to the focus of his 2007 Equal Justice Works fellowship, in which he served as immigration court defense counsel and worked to strengthen protections for people with mental health conditions in immigration detention.

Pleasants is also a social worker and has practiced part-time as a clinical therapist in an inpatient psychiatric hospital. He also teaches mental health policy and law as an adjunct professor.

Between earning his BA at Washington and Lee University in 2000 and his JD and MSW at the University of Southern California in 2007, Pleasants spent some years as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Los Angeles and working with children living on the street in Mexico and Nicaragua.

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