Ariel Hairston

Staff Counsel, Police Accountability and Criminal Legal System

After graduating from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2018, Ariel Hairston completed a PILI Graduate Fellowship here at Impact for Equity. During that fellowship, she researched labor law challenges to certain terms of the CPD’s collective bargaining agreements. From that work, Ariel’s passion for system changes at the policy level grew. Prior to re-joining Impact for Equity, Ariel worked at a national law firm as a litigator focused on fiduciary disputes and government investigations. She also assisted in monitoring the enforcement of the consent decree to reform the CPD, concentrating on community policing, impartial policing, and crisis intervention. 

Ariel joins Impact for Equity as staff counsel to our Criminal Legal System program. In her role, she will leverage the skills she gained as a litigator and social justice advocator to address the harmful systemic forces that underlie our criminal legal system. By partnering with, centering, and amplifying those most impacted by inequitable institutions, Ariel will fight for accountability measures that support everyone’s safety and access to life-affirming resources.  

The change we all deserve requires a commitment to benefitting the whole community instead of the few. Ariel strives to embody that commitment.  

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