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Six Law School students receive Justice Center Graduating Student Awards

Six graduating students at the University of Texas School of Law have been honored by the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law for their extraordinary commitment during Law School to using the law to serve others.

The annual Justice Center Graduating Student Awards honor graduating law students for work in the nonprofit, government, and legislative sectors, as well as participation in clinical courses, pro bono projects, and student groups. The award winners were recognized by Dean Larry Sager at a reception at the Law School, and will each receive $500. In addition, Kaplan and Barbri have generously provided the award winners with $1,000 discounts for bar review courses.

“These outstanding students have made remarkable contributions to the Law School and the community. We are proud to recognize their service and their leadership,” said Professor Eden Harrington, director of the Justice Center.

Law School Dean Larry Sager stands with recipients of the Justice Center Graduating Student Awards: (left to right) Mary Murphy, Lawson Konvalinka, Claire Rodriguez, Rachel Stone, and Susannah Volpe. Elliot Becker is studying abroad and not pictured.

The following students have received 2011 Justice Center Graduating Student Awards:

Elliott Becker participated in the Mediation Clinic and as an advanced student in the Transnational Worker Rights Clinic. He was a staff editor for the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights, treasurer of the Public Interest Law Association, and senior events coordinator for the American Constitution Society. He spent his summers working for UNITE HERE! in San Francisco and Las Vegas and for Deats, Durst, Owen and Levy, a labor and employment law firm in Austin. A University of Maryland graduate, Becker plans a career defending the rights of workers and expanding worker power.

Lawson Konvalinka participated in the Capital Punishment, Immigration, and Housing clinics. He was a member of Texas Law Review, participated in the Justice Center Student Advisory Board, served as copresident of the Public Interest Law Association, and was a student organizer of the Law School’s 2008 and 2009 winter break pro bono trips. He also volunteered at the Helping Hands Home for Children. He spent his summers working for the Bronx Defenders in New York and the Orleans Public Defenders in New Orleans. A cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University, Konvalinka will clerk for U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen in Brownsville and then hopes to work as a public defender.

Mary Murphy participated in the Human Rights Clinic and as an advanced student in the Domestic Violence Clinic. She served as editor in chief of the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights, and also participated in the Public Interest Law Association, the Human Rights Law Society, and Street Law. She spent her summers working for the Orleans Public Defenders in New Orleans and Advocacy, Inc. in Austin. A cum laude graduate of Georgetown University, Murphy has a three-year post-graduate fellowship at the Orleans Public Defenders, funded by Equal Justice Work’s Public Defender Corps.

Claire Rodriguez participated in the Transnational Worker Rights Clinic and the Immigration Clinic. She was a member of the Public Interest Law Association and the National Lawyers Guild, and served as secretary of the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students Association. She also volunteered for American Gateways. She spent her summers working for UNITE HERE! in Los Angeles and the Southern Migrant Legal Services in Nashville. A cum laude graduate of Boston University, Rodriguez will work following graduation for the Equal Justice Center in its San Antonio office representing low-wage workers in the tourism industry. Her project will be funded by a two-year UT Law Julius Glickman Fellowship in Public Interest Law.

Rachel Stone participated as an advanced student in the Community Development Clinic and completed mediation training at the Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution. She was the recycling coordinator for the Environmental Law Society and a member of the Texas Environmental Law Journal. She spent her summers working in Austin for the Lower Colorado River Authority, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and the Save Our Springs Alliance, and provided policy research for the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service and Texas Appleseed. A graduate of Brown University, Stone will work for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Honors Program.

Susannah Volpe participated in the Community Development, Juvenile Justice, and Immigration clinics. She served as president of the Public Interest Law Association and participated in Youth Court, the 2011 Pro Bono in January Winter Break trip, and the Justice Center’s Student Advisory Board. She has also worked as a research assistant to help launch the Law School’s Pro Bono Program and volunteered for American Gateways. She spent her summers working with the Legal Aid Society of New York’s Immigration Law Unit, CASA de Maryland, and the D.C. Employment Justice Center’s Workers’ Rights Clinic. A graduate of Swarthmore College, Volpe hopes to work in juvenile justice or immigrant rights.

Related Links:

Justice Center Awards for Graduating Students

William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law

Contact: Mary Crouter, Assistant Director of the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, UT Law, 512-232-7855, mcrouter@law.utexas.edu

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One Response to “Six Law School students receive Justice Center Graduating Student Awards”

  1. Jessica Cassidy Says:

    May 2nd, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Congratulations to you all! Super cool that a UT grad will be one of the inaugural Public Defenders Corps members – at the Equal Justice Works conference in October, the staff mentioned that over 1,400 had applied for the 20 spots.

    These awards are fantastic for our law graduates, and foreshadow good things for the folks they’ll serve. Richly deserved.

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