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September 20, 2006

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

William Wayne Justice Center Names Public Service Scholars

Photo of the public service scholars
Parisa Fatehi ’07, Paul Di Blasi ’08, Shirley Horng ’07, John Belanger ’08, and Molly Spiecnzy ’08

AUSTIN, Texas—Five students have been selected to serve as Public Service Scholars for 2006 – 2007 with the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at The University of Texas School of Law.

The Law School awards scholarships each year to a group of outstanding students with a demonstrated commitment to studying, promoting, and working in public service. Each Scholar receives a $5,000 scholarship and works closely with the Justice Center on public service initiatives.

"We are very pleased that the Law School offers these significant scholarships annually to recognize outstanding students and future public servants," said Eden Harrington, Director of the Justice Center. "This year's Scholars are remarkably dedicated to public interest law and we look forward to working with them."

The following students were selected as the 2006–2007 Public Service Scholars:

John Belanger, '08, interned last summer with the Federal Public Defenders, Inc., in Alabama, where he drafted appellate briefs and assisted with legal research. Belanger is the Founder and Co-Director of Volunteer Dude!, a student organization that coordinates law student participation in community service projects, and the Community Service Director for the Public Interest Law Association. This semester he is participating in the Immigration Law Clinic. He is a ’04 magna cum laude graduate of Rice University.

Paul Sebastian Di Blasi, '08, is the Advocacy Chair of the Human Rights Law Society, where he works to connect law students with faculty and organizations that may help them realize their interest in human rights, and a board member of the Texas Law Fellowships. Last summer he clerked with the Texas Civil Rights Project in San Juan, Texas, where he researched and prepared memos on civil rights claims. Di Blasi is a ’02 graduate of Williams College, where as a Mellon Undergraduate Fellow he researched the maquiladoras in Mexico. He hopes to practice law in the public interest with a focus on civil rights issues.

Parisa Fatehi, '07, has just completed a six-month clerkship with the Texas Civil Rights Project and plans to resume her work with TCRP this fall as a part-time healthcare policy fellow. During the ’05 summer she was a Peggy Browning Fund Fellow at the National Employment Law Project, where she performed legal research on recent developments in state workers’ compensation statutes. Fatehi serves as the Public Interest Law Association’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program development co-chair. She is currently a student attorney with the Immigration Law Clinic and has also participated in the Transnational Worker’s Rights Clinic. She is seeking a joint degree in Public Affairs and hopes to work to improve access to healthcare for low-income Texans. Fatehi is a ’01 special honors graduate of Plan II at UT Austin.

Shirley Horng, '07, spent last summer in Washington, D.C. working for the Public Defender Service, where she researched systemic violations of criminal defendants’ rights. She has also worked as a law clerk for the Texas Civil Rights Project and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. Horng is the Vice President of Texas Law Fellowships and the Secretary of the Public Interest Law Association. She participated in the Criminal Defense Clinic last spring. Horng plans to pursue a career in civil liberties impact litigation. She is a ’04 honors graduate of Plan II at UT Austin.

Molly Spieczny, '08, was a summer intern at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica, where she researched and wrote about human rights issues. She has also worked as a Texas Law Fellow for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She is the Co-President of the Public Interest Law Association, and a board member of the Texas Law Fellowships. Spieczny worked as a student attorney in the Transnational Worker’s Rights Clinic in ’05. She is seeking a joint degree in Latin American Studies and plans to work to protect the rights of migrant workers worldwide. Spieczny is a ’04 honors graduate of Princeton University.

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 Link:
William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law:
http://www.utexas.edu/law/academics/centers/publicinterest/