Kristen Dama is the Managing Attorney of SSI and Medical-Legal Partnership at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS). In that role, she oversees CLS’s work connecting disabled people and their families to federal income supports and fighting for federal policies that promote disability economic justice. Ms. Dama also manages CLS’s four medical-legal partnerships, which provide direct legal services to patients at primary care health centers in Philadelphia neighborhoods.
Ms. Dama joined CLS in 2007 as an Independence Foundation Public Interest Law Fellow. In her first decade of practice, she was a member of CLS’s Welfare Unit, where she represented clients seeking public benefits from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and worked on health policy issues and class action litigation affecting low-income Pennsylvanians.
Prior to entering law school, Ms. Dama worked as a grassroots organizer and lobbyist for NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire (now part of the Reproductive Freedom Initiative of ACLU-NH).
Ms. Dama received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She earned an M.B.E. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Ms. Dama is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied Political Science and History.
Honors & Publications
Equal Justice Award, Community Legal Services (2022).
Alumni Impact Award Finalist, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School Toll Public Interest Center (2022).
Jennifer Burdick et al., How One Legal Aid Program Is Responding in an Era of Political Uncertainty, 31 M.I.E.J. 43 (2017).
Who’s Next in Health Honoree, Awarded by Billy Penn & The Knight Foundation (2016).
Gina Mannix et al., What Process Is Due in a “Modernized” Public Benefits System?, Clgh. Rev 1 (2016),
Kristen M. Dama, Comment, Redefining a Final Act: The Fourteenth Amendment and States’ Obligation to Prevent Death Row Inmates from Volunteering to Be Put to Death, 9 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 1083 (2007).