By: Alexis Jimenez Maldonado
Rohan Pavuluri is a former Edmond J. Safra Undergraduate Fellow and He graduated from Harvard College in 2018 and was named to the TIME100 Next list in 2021. He is also a member of the Legal Services Corporation’s Emerging Leaders Council, a Board Director at the National Access to Justice Center housed at Fordham Law School, and a committee member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Making Justice Accessible project. He has been recognized as Forbes 30 under 30 in the Law & Policy Category and is a TED Fellow.
Nicholas Brown is an Edmond J. Safra Undergraduate Fellow and Upsolve's former product manager. Brown is a third-year student concentrating in Social Studies. He researches distributive justice and legal representation in contemporary America. Outside the classroom, he has worked to increase access to the bankruptcy system, co-led the Harvard Review of Philosophy, and is a founding member of Harvard for Bernie and Harvard College YDSA.
Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Their mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app.
This conversation happened on December 15, 2021. The transcript of the interview has been edited for clarity.
Alexis Jimenez Maldonado:
Rohan PavuluriArthur [Applbaum]
Upsolve, which is helping thousands of low-income Americans who couldn't afford a lawyer file for bankruptcy protection for free. I’d love to hear about how Upsolve evolved during your time as a fellow.
RP: Within my experience at Harvard, there are people who are deeply practical and focused on traditional routes after college, like finance and consulting. There are people who are deeply philosophical and had passions for connecting to the real world, but very theoretical. The great thing about the Undergraduate Fellowship and the people it attracts is this connection between ethics and philosophy and the real world. That to me is the amazing thing about the Safra Center.
How has it been applying what you learned at Harvard in the real world?"
AJM: Rohan, in a 2017 op-ed in the Crimson, “How to Avoid the Well-Trodden Path,” you discussed the pressures of pursing traditional career opportunities during college. You said, “I hesitate to give advice because I’ve barely had any life experiences and have no idea how my choices will turn out…” I wondered if you might have an update on that advice now that you’ve had more life experiences.
Rohan, your work is at the intersection of law, justice, tech, etc. And Nicholas, you are interested in normative issues, especially those surrounding progressive politics and the U.S. bankruptcy system. Could you both talk about how these interests and your work have connected to the Center and its mission?
80% of the civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans received inadequate or no legal help.
Edmond J. Safra Center