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The Joe R. and Teresa L. Long Career Launch Program

In 2008 the Law School created the Long Career Launch Program to make it financially possible for recent graduates to gain work experience in unpaid legal internships while they wait for bar results. Funded by a $2 million endowment from Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long, the program grants a $6,000 stipend to participating graduates so they can begin their legal careers by working with a government agency or a nonprofit public-interest organization right out of law school.

Photo of Joe and Terry Long
Joe and Terry Long
Photo credit: Stephanie Swope

Alice Dolson, ’08, decided long before she graduated from law school that she wanted to work as a prosecutor. “Unfortunately, prosecutor’s offices rarely have the resources to guarantee recent graduates a job before they get admitted to the bar,” Dolson said. But a new initiative at the Law School made it possible for her to work at the Travis County Attorney’s Office immediately following graduation.

The Long Career Launch program was established in 2008 to help University of Texas Law School graduates bridge the gap between law school and practice by offering stipends for work in unpaid internships at government agencies and nonprofit public-interest organizations. These can be difficult months—particularly for people interested in public-interest practice—because of the acute shortage of paid positions available to recent graduates who aren’t yet licensed to practice law.

By making it possible for recent graduates to accept unpaid internships without worrying about how they will meet their basic expenses, the program enables them to work and gain valuable experience in the field—experience that will serve them their entire careers.

Additionally, the program places young talent in organizations that otherwise would not benefit from their contributions, increasing the reach of those organizations and expanding access to justice. During its pilot year, thirty-eight graduates participated, working in twenty-six different organizations, ranging from Office of the Attorney General of Texas to the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials.

Students who participated in the first year of the Long Career Launch program worked with organizations including:

Advocacy, Inc.
American Civil Liberties Union
Office of the Attorney General of Texas
California Office of the Attorney General
California Department of Justice
City of Austin Law Department
Dallas City Attorney’s Office
Dallas County District Attorney’s Office
Equal Justice Center
Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas
Legal Hospice of Texas
Lower Colorado River Authority
Jane’s Due Process
National Labor Relations Board
Open Society Justice Initiative
San Diego County Public Defender’s Office
Texas Association of School Boards
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Texas General Land Office
Texas State Board of Pharmacy
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
Transnational Worker Rights Clinic
Travis County Attorney’s Office
Travis County Juvenile Public Defender’s Office
United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials

“The Long Career Launch Program has proven to be a wonderful opportunity for both graduates and the people of Texas alike,” Texas Solicitor General James C. Ho said. “Two UT Law graduates were placed with the Office of the Solicitor General last fall. Both have contributed to a number of our most important cases, including matters before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Texas Supreme Court. Both have confronted a variety of challenging legal issues involving the U.S. Constitution and the administration of Texas government. We were so pleased with their work that both were offered—and, we are glad to say, both accepted—paid, full-time, one-year positions in the office.”

Many of the Long Career Launch participants received and accepted jobs from their sponsoring employers; others were successfully referred to other public service or public interest employers.  Almost all the participants found attractive employment. In the end, the first year of the program was a breathtaking success at both easing entrance into the job market and making public interest and public service options available to UT Law graduates. 

“The program gave me an opportunity I would not otherwise have had,” Sarah Drescher,’08, said. “I learned about Texas judicial bypass law, an area of law I had no previous background in. Shelia Cheaney, my supervisor and the executive director of Jane’s Due Process, has been uniformly generous and supportive. Most of all, I have appreciated the chance to do meaningful legal work that really helps people. Especially after spending months preparing for the bar exam, the work I’ve done through the Long Career Launch program reminded me why I wanted to be a lawyer in the first place.”

The program is administered by the Career Services Office under the leadership of Assistant Dean David Montoya. “This program helps students get into practice, learn about opportunities they may not have considered, and form legal-world connections,” Montoya said. “We are very pleased with the results so far.”

Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long

This remarkable program was made possible by a generous gift from Joe and Terry Lozano Long.

“Terry and Joe Long are extraordinary people and wonderful friends of the Law School,” Dean Larry Sager said. “Their endowment of the Career Launch program is the latest in a long series of remarkably generous gifts.  I simply cannot thank Joe and Terry enough for their sustained good counsel, friendship, and support.” 

Terry and Joe completed their undergraduate work at the University of Texas at Austin. Terry earned both a master’s degree and a doctorate in education at UT as well, and Joe is a 1958 graduate of the Law School. They met and married while Joe was in law school and Terry was working on her PhD. Early next year they will celebrate their fifty-second anniversary.

Together, Joe and Terry have contributed so much to the Law School, the University of Texas, and to the state of Texas that it is impossible to count the myriad benefits. The Long Career Launch program is one among many initiatives they have supported—others include the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies; the Long Center for the Performing Arts; as well as numerous scholarships, professorships, and fellowships at the University of Texas at Austin.

Joe’s support for the Long Career Launch program can be traced to his early adult life, during which he held a variety of jobs—from school teacher to chief of the Enforcement Division of the State Securities Board to dairy farmer. This broad experience was a tremendous benefit when he opened his own Austin-based practice that specialized in banking and savings and loan law. Terry worked for years as an educational consultant to the Texas Education Agency and to Head Start and other federal programs. Both the Longs are believers in the transformative value of education, which is why they direct so much of their philanthropy to higher education. They both serve on numerous boards that benefit education, civic life, and the arts.

“When Dean Sager approached me with the idea for this program it really resonated,” Joe said. “I could see how it would serve recent graduates and the larger community. I had some struggles as a young lawyer. I wasn’t in the top ten percent of my class. But people reached out and helped me. So I discussed the idea with Terry, and since she liked it, too, we decided to invest in it. We hope others will join us in contributing to this program, as well. It would be wonderful to make this opportunity available to more graduates and organizations.”

—Kirston Fortune