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February 16, 2009

UT Law hosts Color of Justice program for local minority high school students

Minority students from local Austin high schools will have the opportunity on February 19, 2009, to participate in the Color of Justice program, an initiative of the National Association of Women Judges to introduce minority students to a diverse group of minority judges, lawyers, and law students whose stories illustrate the many career options available in the law and judiciary.

The intent of the program is to inspire minority high school students to consider the law as a career, and to aspire to be judges as well as lawyers.

UT Law’s William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law is joining with the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association, the National Association of Women Judges, as well as conference sponsors the Austin Bar Association and Winstead PC, to bring this opportunity to the students. This half-day event at the Law School will feature two panel discussions with speakers sharing their personal experiences and encouraging the students to pursue a career in law.

As part of the program, second-year UT Law student Jessica Kemp will receive a $1,000 “Access to Justice Scholarship” given by the National Association of Women Judges for her demonstrated and passionate commitment to the achievement of equality of opportunity and access in the justice system.

The first panel, “The Color of Justice: Making a Difference,” will include Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, ’88; Judge Brenda Kennedy, ’81, and Judge Carlos Barrera, ’83, of the Travis County Criminal District Court; and Judge Orlinda Naranjo of the Travis County Civil District Court. Bea Ann Smith, ’75, former justice for the Third Court of Appeals, will moderate the panel.

The second panel, “Law as a Career: Preparing the Way,” will be led by legal professionals in various fields, including UT Law Professor Patricia Hansen; Craig Moore, ’04, of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office; Nikelle Meade, ’95, of Brown McCarroll, LLP; and Geronimo Rodriguez, ’96, of  Seton Hospital. Stephanie Kolmar, a second-year UT Law student and past recipient of the Access to Justice Scholarship, will also participate. Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association President Rande Herrell will moderate.

The program is spearheaded by Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association Board Member Elizabeth Branch.

Related links:

Color of Justice event program (PDF)

National Association of Women Judges

Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association

William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law

Austin Bar Association

Winstead PC

Contact: Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications, (512) 471-7330, or