Kevin Botros Carves a Path in Pursuit of Justice

Championing marginalized voices and decarceration efforts in the legal landscape

Kevin Botros

Kevin Botros (3L) is a motivated advocate with a passion for bringing justice to individuals systemically victimized by the criminal legal system.  Born in Ismailia, Egypt, Botros grew up inspired by his father's navigation of the professional landscape of law. There was no doubt in his mind about someday becoming a lawyer himself. At age 10, he moved with his family to Nashville, Tennessee. He later studied political science and philosophy at Belmont University, laying the groundwork for his legal aspirations.

Upon receiving his bachelor’s degree, Botros interned at the Nashville Public Defenders Office the summer before his first year of law school, which set his path toward becoming a public defender in motion.

"I knew I wanted to go to law school at a young age, but I didn’t know for what," Botros said. "I was motivated to pursue public defense because the criminal legal system systemically puts marginalized communities at a disadvantage."

Botros chose American University Washington College of Law because he believed the trial advocacy program and clinical programs would equip him with the skills and experiences necessary to effectively advocate for marginalized communities within the criminal legal system.

"Because I knew coming into law school that I wanted to be a public defender, it was easy to choose WCL due to its prestigious trial advocacy program and highly ranked clinical program," he said. "I also knew about the clinical programs they had, with the decarceration and reentry clinic, which I was determined and able to pursue in my time here."

His resolve to work in public defense fueled his desire to make space for marginalized communities to have their stories heard and humanized.

"With high incarceration rates and nearly 98% of criminal convictions being a result of plea deals, marginalized communities are often left powerless at the hands of the system," Botros explained. "This inspired me to become a public defense attorney and amplify the voices of people victimized by the system itself."

Speaking of the cyclic impacts of the criminal legal system on marginalized communities, Botros explained that it is difficult for people to break out of the cycle of violence and hopes to help them break free.

"A good public defender can make it better for them, and I wanted to be that" he said. "I came to realize that as a public defense lawyer, I have the power at the very minimum, to support people who have been silenced systemically to finally feel listened to. Even if the remedies that exist within the legal system are constrained, providing the space for someone to be heard and vent the vulnerability they feel, makes the biggest difference."

Closing in on the end of his law school journey, Botros believes the path forward includes decarceration. His work at the Decarceration and Reentry Clinic provided him with the opportunity to work with incarcerated clients and share their stories. 

"Law school can seem intimidating and overwhelming, but everyone can make it their own place. I try to focus on what I can control  take things one step at a time," he said. "Working with clients directly was a heavy but transformative process. I try to push things with an open mind, listen to people, and be receptive to different ideas."

Botros' success at AUWCL speaks for itself as he is set to embark on his post-graduate journey at the Public Defender Service for DC where he aims to champion the rights of those ensnared by the criminal legal system. By being a public defender, he hopes to make a positive impact on marginalized impoverised communities and actively advocate for decarceration.

A testament to the power of determination and focus, Botros' thoughtful dedication to pursuing justice for those downtrodden by the system stands as an inspiration to legal professionals everywhere.

~ Story by Hasini Jayawardena