AUSTIN, Texas — Allen Cooper, ’06, was awarded the second UT Law Faculty Fellowship in Public Interest Law by the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at The University of Texas School of Law. The Fellowship will provide a stipend for Cooper to develop the Injured Poultry Worker Justice Project at the Equal Justice Center in Austin. The program will increase access to justice for injured workers employed in the poultry processing industry in East Texas, especially those employed in plants that have opted out of the state’s workers’ compensation system.
The purpose of the Fellowship is to create opportunities for outstanding graduating law students to work with public interest legal organizations on behalf of underrepresented individuals or groups. Cooper was selected by a faculty committee based on his project proposal, and he will receive a stipend of $37,000. The Fellowship was created through generous contributions from members of the law faculty and the Law School.
“Even as a law student Allen has already done some pioneering work analyzing why the Texas Workers’ Compensation system fails to protect so many low-income workers who are injured at work,” said Bill Beardall, director of the Equal Justice Center and a clinical professor who directs the Law School’s Transnational Worker Rights Clinic. “This fellowship will enable Allen to take this work further and make a uniquely innovative contribution to improving workplace safety and remedies for the working poor of Texas.”
Cooper has previously worked on labor and environmental issues with the International Labor Rights Fund in Washington, D.C., the World Wildlife Fund in Valdivia, Chile, and Environmental Defense in Boulder, Colorado. He has also participated in numerous public service activities at the Law School and in Austin. Cooper, a graduate of Swarthmore College, obtained a Masters degree in Public Policy from Princeton University, and worked as the Executive Director of the West Virginia Organizing Project and as an organizer for Austin Interfaith before attending law school.
The Equal Justice Center is an employment justice and civil rights organization that empowers low-income families, individuals and communities to achieve systemic reforms that improve their lives. To do this, EJC uses combined strategies of community organizing, legal rights advocacy, leadership development, technical assistance, and community-based coalition building.
The William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law is dedicated to promoting equal justice for all through legal education, scholarship and public service. The Justice Center works toward this goal by educating students and attorneys about public interest issues through conferences, research projects, and clinical courses; by encouraging all students to participate in pro bono and public interest law throughout their careers; and by creating public service opportunities for students and graduates.
William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law: http://www.utexas.edu/law/centers/publicinterest/
Equal Justice Center: http://www.equaljusticecenter.org/
UT Law Faculty Post-Graduate Fellowship in Public Interest Law