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Graduating Law School students receive service awards from Justice Center

Pictured from left to right are 2013 Service Award recipients Hannah Vahl, Erin Gaines, Abby Anna Batko-Taylor, Maggie Cheu, Amy Friedman, and Megan Sheffield

Pictured from left to right are 2013 Service Award recipients Hannah Vahl, Erin Gaines, Abby Anna Batko-Taylor, Maggie Cheu, Amy Friedman, and Megan Sheffield

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.

This annual award honors graduating 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 Ward Farnsworth at a reception at the Law School, and will each receive $500.  In addition, BARBRI has generously provided the award winners with $500 discounts for bar review courses.

“The Law School is proud to recognize these outstanding students as they enter the legal profession,” said Professor Eden Harrington, director of the Justice Center.  “They have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to using the law to serve others and inspiring others to do the same.”

The following students have received 2013 Justice Center Graduating Student Awards:

Abby Anna Batko-Taylor will graduate with a joint degree from the School of Social Work.  She participated in the Transnational Worker Rights Clinic, the Mediation Clinic, and the Immigration Clinic.  She interned with ProBAR in Harlingen, and Catholic Charities, American Gateways, and the Mental Health Public Defender in Austin.  She was president of the Human Rights Law Society.  Over the last year she has worked at Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas (VLS).  Next year she will work with VLS to expand its capacity to serve Spanish-speaking immigrants, funded by UT Law’s 2013 Julius Glickman Fellowship in Public Interest Law.

Maggie Cheu participated in the Prosecution Internship, the Juvenile Justice Clinic, and the Domestic Violence Clinic.  She served on the executive board of the Assault Survivors Assistance Program for two years, including a year as vice president of fundraising; was editor in chief of the Texas Journal of Women and the Law; and volunteered for the Jane’s Due Process hotline.  She interned with the Texas Advocacy Project and the Queens County District Attorney’s Office in New York.  Next year she will join the Queens County District Attorney’s Office.

Amy Friedman participated in the Juvenile Justice Clinic, the Immigration Clinic, and the Capital Punishment Clinic.  She was active in Youth Court, serving on the board for two years.  As the administrative editor of the Texas Law Review, she helped launch TLR’s pro bono initiative.  She interned with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Weslaco and Texas Appleseed.  Next year she will work as a fellow with the Justice Center’s Texas Title Project.  The following year she will clerk for U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas in Houston.

Erin Gaines participated in the Transnational Worker Rights Clinic, the Community Development Clinic, and the Environmental Law Clinic.  She interned with the Farmers’ Legal Action Group in Saint Paul and California Rural Legal Assistance in Salinas.  She served as president of the Public Interest Law Association and as the Texas Law Review’s pro bono coordinator. Next year she will clerk for U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa in Galveston.

Megan Sheffield participated in the Immigration Clinic and the Children’s Rights Clinic. She interned for the South Texas Civil Rights Project in Alamo and American Gateways in Austin.  She helped lead the 2012 and 2013 Pro Bono in January winter break trips and was a major organizing force behind the Law School’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Clinics.  Next year she will work with Casa Marianella Immigration Legal Services in Austin to expand services to immigrant women and children, funded by the 2013 UT Law Faculty/Julius Glickman Fellowship in Public Interest Law.

Hannah Vahl participated in the Capital Punishment Clinic, the Transnational Worker Rights Clinic, and the Housing Clinic.  She was notes editor of the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights and mentor coordinator for Street Law, and she volunteered for a variety of Law School pro bono clinics.  She interned with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife’s Legal Division, the City of Austin’s Legal Department, and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.  Next year she will join Taylor Dunham LLP, a small litigation firm in Austin.

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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