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September 14, 2007

Six UT Law students receive Baron & Budd Public Interest Scholarships

Baron & Budd Public Interest Scholarship Winners
UT Law’s Baron & Budd Scholars (left to right) Kevin Vela, Meghan Shapiro, Whitney Hill, Minnie Tsai, Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, and Kevin Little

Six students at The University of Texas School of Law have been selected to receive Baron & Budd Public Interest Scholarships for the 2007–2008 academic year. The scholarship provides financial support to students who commit to working 300 pro bono hours with a non-profit organization providing legal services to underserved individuals or communities.

The scholarships provide a $4,000 stipend and are made possible by a generous gift from the Baron & Budd law firm. They are administered by the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at the Law School.

“We are proud to support these students as they increase access to justice in our community,” said Eden Harrington, Director of the Justice Center. “Baron & Budd has provided our students with the chance to gain valuable experience while contributing 1800 hours of legal work to low-income Texans, and the Law School is very grateful for the firm’s support.”

The following students were selected to receive Baron & Budd Public Interest Scholarships:

Whitney Hill, ’09, will work with Advocacy, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and advocating for the legal rights of Texans with disabilities. She will perform legal research on Medicaid issues and help represent children with disabilities suffering from abuse and neglect. Last summer Hill clerked for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Austin.

Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, ’08, will work with the Political Asylum Project of Austin, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting justice for immigrants and refugees by providing free and low cost legal services and education. She will work with individuals seeking asylum. Lincoln-Goldfinch spent last summer working as a law clerk for PAPA.

Kevin Little, ’09, will work with the Texas Civil Rights Project, a nonprofit organization that advocates for racial, social, and economic equality in Texas through education and litigation. Little will perform legal research and writing on civil rights issues and interview potential clients. Last summer, Little interned with Judge William Wayne Justice and Magistrate Judge Andrew W. Austin, both of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin.

Meghan Shapiro, ’09, will work for the Texas Defender Service, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to representing indigent men and women on Texas’ death row. She will assist in researching and drafting pleadings in cases pending before state and federal courts, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Last summer, Shapiro worked on capital cases in TDS’s Houston office and with the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama. Before attending law school, she participated in the ABA’s Death Penalty Moratorium Project.

Mi Hui Tsai, ’09, will work for the Capital Area AIDS Legal Project, which provides free legal services to low-income people with HIV/AIDS. She will help review cases, assist with legal research, and participate in special legal clinics intended to empower women with HIV/AIDS. Tsai worked at CAALP last summer.

Kevin Vela, ’08, will work with the Equal Justice Center, a nonprofit organization that assists low-income families, individuals, and communities with employment and civil rights issues. He will assist clients to recover unpaid wages. Last spring and summer, Vela participated in the Law School’s Transnational Worker Rights Clinic at the EJC.

About Baron & Budd

Baron & Budd, P.C. is one of the largest plaintiffs’ firms in the country representing people exposed to toxic substances in their work and living environments. The firm established the Baron & Budd Public Interest Scholarships at UT Law School to support students engaged in pro bono work.

About the Justice Center:

The William Wayne Justice Center at UT Law is dedicated to promoting equal justice for all through legal education. 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.

Related links:

Baron & Budd Public Interest Scholarship Program:

http://www.utlawjusticecenter.org/baronandbudd/index.html

http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2006/092006_baronbudd.html

William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law:

http://www.utlawjusticecenter.org

Contact:

Eden Harrington, Director of the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, UT Law, (512) 232-7068, eharrington@law.utexas.edu.