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July 28, 2008

UT Law’s Fourth Equal Justice Scholarship Awarded to William Lawson Konvalinka

Photo of William Konvalinka
William Lawson Konvalinka

The University of Texas School of Law has awarded the fourth Equal Justice Scholarship to William Lawson Konvalinka, an incoming first-year law student. The scholarship covers full tuition and fees for three years of legal study.

The Equal Justice Scholarship was established to increase access to justice in Texas by supporting recipients’ work in public interest during law school and after graduation.  The scholarship’s scope has been expanded for the Class of 2011 by permitting post-graduate work outside Texas. Konvalinka has committed to working after law school on a full-time basis for three years providing direct legal services to low-income individuals or groups at a non-profit organization in the United States.

“The Equal Justice Scholarship helps a promising new lawyer serve the public good without the burden of educational debt. It also recognizes the critical importance of increasing access to justice and the Law School’s obligation to train public interest lawyers,” said Eden Harrington, director of UT Law’s William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, which administers the program.

The Law School developed the scholarship in partnership with the Texas Access to Justice Commission and Baylor University School of Law, which has a similar program. The Law School committed to fund three scholarships, collectively valued at $135,000, over three years as a pilot program. The first three scholarships were awarded to Amber VanSchuyver, who graduated in May and has been awarded a prestigious two-year fellowship that will fund her work at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Edinburg, Texas; Jessica Cassidy, a rising third-year law student; and Kyle Marie Stock, who is beginning her second year.

“Law is the arena in which those who have no voice are able to proclaim their basic rights,” Konvalinka said. “I intend to advocate for individuals being denied their voice in our society and abroad.” Konvalinka is a cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University where he double majored in English and in Human and Organizational Development with a concentration in Community Development. After college, Konvalinka moved to Peru where he co-founded a microfinance project for women in a marginalized urban district outside Trujillo. 

“Lawson has been awarded the Equal Justice Scholarship because of his demonstrated commitment to using the law to better our society,” Harrington said. “He has already achieved great gains for the underserved through his work in Peru, and we are pleased to support his legal education.”

The William Wayne Justice Center 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:

William Wayne Justice Center

UT Law’s Third Equal Justice Scholarship Awarded to Kyle Marie Stock, ’10

UT Law Awards Equal Justice Scholarship to Jessica Cassidy, ’09

UT Law Awards Equal Justice Scholarship to Amber VanSchuyver, ’08

Equal Justice Scholarships Created for Future Legal Aid Lawyers

Texas Access to Justice Commission

Program contact:

Mary Crouter, Assistant Director, William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, 512-232-7855, lcastro@law.utexas.edu

Press contact:

Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or kfortune@law.utexas.edu.