Mark Procopio is the Executive Director of FreeState Justice, a social justice organization that works statewide to improve the lives of LGBTQ Marylanders and their families through legal services, policy advocacy, outreach, education, and coalition building. As a member of the LGBTQ community and a former educator in Baltimore City, he experienced and witnessed the impact of systemic inequality and structural bias. His experience as a middle school teacher in Baltimore City stoked his passion and commitment to working with communities to achieve equality, access, and opportunity for all people regardless of race, gender identity, or sexual orientation. His career has focused on building partnerships, marshaling resources, and improving sustainability with social justice oriented education non-profits.
Prior to joining FreeState Justice, Mark held several roles with KIPP Baltimore which serves 1,500 students in the Greater Park Heights neighborhood of Baltimore City. KIPP is a national network of college preparatory, public charter schools. Most recently, he served as Interim Director of Operations. Previously, he led the fundraising, community organizing, advocacy, marketing, and communications work for the organization. Before his time at KIPP, he managed organizational fundraising and partnerships for the Teach For America – Baltimore region.
He holds a degree in International Economics and International Finance from The Catholic University of America and is an alumnus of Teach For America, an AmeriCorps program. He and his fiance, Chris, live in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore City.
Jennifer Kent is the Managing Attorney of FreeState Justice. As Managing Attorney, Jennifer supervises and conducts FreeState’s in-house litigation program, bringing cases to vindicate LGBTQ Marylanders’ hard-won civil rights and engaging in strategic advocacy to expand access to justice for the LGBTQ community.
Jennifer brings a wide array of experience to FreeState Justice, including serving as one of its volunteer attorneys. Prior to joining FreeState, Jennifer spent seven years in private practice representing victims of terrorism and civil rights abuses. Since 2013, she has taught Maryland Civil Procedure at the University of Baltimore School of Law. After graduating Florida State University magna cum laude, she worked on human rights issues in Albania and England for the FSU Center for the Advancement of Human Rights. Jennifer graduated cum laude from the University of Florida Levin College of Law where she was a board member of the Florida Law Review. Jennifer is admitted to practice in all Maryland state courts, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
Laura DePalma joined FreeState Justice as a Staff Attorney in March of 2015. She represents clients in a wide-range of civil legal matters, including name change and gender identity petitions, family law cases, anti-discrimination matters, and actions regarding access to transition-related health care. Additionally, Laura manages FreeState’s Pro Bono Panel, recruiting, training, and mentoring attorneys across the state on how to effectively represent LGBTQ community members. Laura also leads FreeState’s police reform efforts as Co-Chair of the Baltimore Police Commissioner’s LGBT Advisory Council, and advocates for law enforcement accountability at the highest levels of the Baltimore Police Department.
Prior to working at FreeState Justice, Laura was a Court-Appointed Attorney for the District Court of Maryland, where she represented indigent clients appearing before District Court Commissioners in preliminary hearings. Laura volunteered as a Law Clerk, Rule 16 Student Attorney, and Volunteer Attorney for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender from 2011–2014.
Laura attended Smith College and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in 2008. She graduated from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law in 2012. Laura is admitted to practice law in all Maryland state courts and the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.
Laura and her wife, Katie, live in northern Baltimore County with their dogs, Jada and Linus.