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March 26, 2009

Three UT Law students awarded Justice Corps Fellowships to pursue public interest legal projects

The University of Texas Law School’s Justice Corps program recently awarded fellowships to practice public-interest law to three third-year students at the Law School. Whitney Hill, Terry Schuster, and Spencer Wilson received the first three of the fellowships in the program.

The Justice Corps was launched in November 2008 with the twin goals of increasing access to legal assistance and to support Law School graduates interested in serving the public. It offers two-year fellowships to recent Law School graduates to work for public interest legal organizations. So far, three fellowships have received full funding: the George M. Fleming Fellowship in Health Law; the Faculty Fellowship in Public Interest Law; and the Julius Glickman Fellowship in Public Interest Law. The program is administered by the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law.

When the program is fully funded, the Justice Corps will sponsor eight or more new alumni every year to work on two-year assignments with nonprofit legal organizations serving underrepresented people and communities across the world, so there will always be at least sixteen Justice Corps Fellows working for equal justice for all.

Whitney Hill, '09
Whitney Hill, ’09

Whitney Hill—George M. Fleming Fellowship in Health Law
Juvenile Rights Project
Portland, Oregon

Whitney Hill will work with the Juvenile Rights Project (JRP) in Portland, Oregon, helping low-income children with disabilities to obtain appropriate services in schools, something the JRP currently lacks funding to provide. According to Hill, the overarching goal of her project is to prevent the flow of underserved children with disabilities from school into the juvenile justice system, where their disabilities tend to worsen.

As a UT Law student, Hill has focused on disability law and the rights of children, and she plans to pursue a career representing children at a nonprofit law firm. Last summer she worked with JRP representing clients in Portland’s juvenile detention facility and in the care of Child Protective Services. She has worked with Advocacy, Inc. assisting Texans with disabilities; clerked for the family law department of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Austin; and is currently participating in the law school’s Children’s Rights Clinic and Juvenile Justice Clinic. Hill also volunteers as a Big Sister, and is active in several student organizations, including Texas Law Fellowships. She graduated magna cum laude from Claremont McKenna College.

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Terry Schuster, ’09

Terry Schuster—UT Law Faculty Fellowship in Public Interest Law
Juvenile Law Center
Philadelphia

Terry Schuster will work with Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center (JLC), a public interest law firm for children, where he will focus on legal challenges to laws that treat juvenile offenders as adults. He will also assist with JLC’s new National Policy Center, which will showcase model legislation and policies related to juvenile justice and child welfare.

Schuster plans a career devoted to juvenile justice and criminal justice policy reform and has focused on these issues at the Law School. He currently assists the Federal Court Monitor with a project relating to the Ohio Department of Youth Services. He has worked for Travis County Juvenile Court, the Office of the Special Master of the California Department of Corrections Division of Juvenile Justice, and the Texas Youth Commission’s Office of the Independent Ombudsman. After his first year he worked for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s Regional Public Defender’s Office in Del Rio. A graduate of Duke University, Schuster is copresident of OUTLaw and has participated in the Capital Punishment Clinic.

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Spencer Wilson, ’09

Spencer Wilson—Julius Glickman Fellowship in Public Interest Law
Bay Area Legal Aid
Richmond, California

Spencer Wilson will work with Bay Area Legal Aid in Richmond, California, providing assistance to tenants living in foreclosed properties, a population that is steadily increasing as a result of the current economic downturn. Wilson’s project will address the problem through direct client representation coupled with tenants’ rights education, housing authority advocacy, and collaboration with utility providers, local governments, lenders, and real estate agents. The project aims to address the immediate needs of this underserved population while also creating sustainable systemic relief. The project will be a boon for Bay Area Legal Aid, as they now only serve a small portion of this population and lack the resources to address the problem in a systemic manner.

Wilson, who became interested in housing policy prior to law school while working as a legislative assistant in a congressional office, plans a career serving indigent clients through policy advocacy and impact litigation. Last summer he worked for Bay Area Legal Aid in Oakland, assisting the housing unit. He has also clerked for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Austin on consumer litigation matters and serves as the court watch fellow for the Texas Watch Foundation. Wilson, a graduate of Pomona College, has participated in the Law School’s Capital Punishment Clinic and Criminal Defense Clinic. He is also editor in chief of the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights.

Hill, Schuster, and Wilson will begin their fellowships in the fall.

Related links:

Justice Corps

Justice. For All. UT Law Faculty Post-Graduate Fellowship

Juvenile Rights Project

Juvenile Law Center

Bay Area Legal Aid

Contact:
Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications, (512) 471-7330, or kfortune@law.utexas.edu