Reproductive Justice and Criminal Defense Fellowship

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, an interdisciplinary center housed at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, is seeking a postgraduate fellow, preferably with criminal defense experience, to work at the intersection of criminal law and reproductive rights. The fellow will work alongside staff and faculty connected with the new Sissy Farenthold Reproductive Justice Legal Defense Resource Project, which aims to ensure quality legal resources for people criminally charged or investigated in Texas based on pregnancy outcomes.

We encourage applications from recent law graduates—including those completing judicial clerkships—as well as practicing criminal defense attorneys who are seeking to expand their experience into areas of reproductive rights, legal policy, and academic research. The fellowship is for one year with a possibility of renewal.

The fellow will be a driving force in the Center’s reproductive justice legal defense resource project. Depending upon the background of the fellow and the needs of the project, responsibilities may include:

  • researching and preparing legal memos, public education materials, and policy analyses related to Texas law that criminalizes reproductive outcomes;
  • tracking criminal and civil cases in Texas related to pregnancy outcomes, including by traveling to and performing outreach in counties statewide;
  • preparing training materials, legal resource pamphlets, and other support for attorneys across the country associated with the project as well as participating in training sessions;
  • coordinating with the project’s national and local partners on research and advocacy as well as providing support for other state-based reproductive justice projects;
  • supervising law students affiliated with the project;
  • co-teaching or otherwise participating in a seminar on reproductive justice and criminal law;
  • meeting with potential funders and assisting in grant writing and reporting for the project.

Ideally, the appointment will begin August 1, 2023, but the start date is negotiable. The fellowship salary will depend upon experience and qualifications but will pay a minimum of $65,000 for those just out of law school or a clerkship and a minimum of $75,000 for those with two or more years of criminal law experience. The fellow will be a full time employee of the University of Texas and will receive health insurance, full use of UT facilities, and office space at the Law School. The fellow will be required to be primarily in residence in Austin and may not hold any other appointment during the fellowship period.

Required qualification:

• JD degree. Those with LLM or SJD degrees who are licensed to practice in the United States may also apply.

Preferred qualifications:

• licensed to practice law in the State of Texas or willing to become licensed in Texas;

• substantive experience in criminal law through practice or clerkship;

• experience working with over-surveilled and criminalized communities in Texas;

• background and understanding of abortion access both pre-Dobbs and the current criminal and civil threats for abortion seekers, funders, and providers.


The Rapoport Center is an equal opportunity employer and actively recruits women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and persons with diverse gender and sexual identities.


Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with review beginning as early as March 13, 2023. Application packages should include the following materials in a single PDF:

• cover letter;

• CV;

• law school and any other graduate transcripts (unofficial and scanned are acceptable);

• legal writing sample (no more than 7,000 words);

• a list of three references who will be submitting letters of recommendation, preferably within a week of your application submission.

All materials should be emailed as a combined PDF attachment to Cooper Christiancy at Please name the subject line of the email “[Your Name] + Postgraduate Legal Fellowship.” Questions may be directed to Cooper Christiancy or to Blake Rocap at


Cooper Christiancy — 

Blake Rocap —

Application File