Impact: Vail Kohnert-Yount

Ella West, Copy Editor

Welcome to the latest podcast series from Pod on the Quad. Impact focuses on St. John’s alumni who are changing the world and shaping the future. Sophomore Ella West will discuss what these alumni are doing and how St. John’s helped them get to where they are today. Be sure to check out The Review Online for more of Impact and other podcasts!

First up is an interview with Vail Kohnert-Yount (’13) who has been a part of many political organizations and movements since high school, including the time she unionized the cafeteria staff at Georgetown University where she went to college. 

After serving as Georgetown Student Association vice president, Kohnert-Yount interned at the White House during the Obama administration. She later became a political appointee at the Department of Labor, where she helped address international issues such as fighting child labor, forced labor and human trafficking. 

For six months, Kohnert-Yount moved back to Houston to volunteer, travel and apply to law school. She spent the majority of her time helping out at Jane’s Due Process, an organization whose mission is the ensure legal representation for pregnant minors in Texas. 

Once she began studying at Harvard Law in 2017, she co-founded the People’s Parity Project, a national organization committed to ending harassment, discrimination and other injustices in the legal profession. The People’s Parity Project organized one of the largest walkouts and protests in Harvard Law history and successfully prevented Brett Kavanaugh from continuing to teach at Harvard Law. 

Kohnert-Yount and her fellow leaders were recently recognized in Washington, D.C., by Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08), who applauded their work: “They have organized students at Harvard Law School to put pressure on law firms to drop policies of compulsory arbitration against their own employees,” Raskin said. “If someone has a sexual harassment complaint or any other complaints, they would not be forced into one of these secretive off limits entities where real justice is not done.” 

This summer Kohnert-Yount worked on many different cases involving sexual assault in the workplace and fought to help undocumented women whose employers threatened to have them deported if they reported any harassment or assault.

Kohnert-Yount will graduate from law school in May and plans to move back to Texas to work at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, an organization that provides legal services for low-wage workers across Texas.