Equal Justice Works, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization, awarded two-year fellowships to three recent graduates of The University of Texas School of Law. Gonzalo Serrano, ’14, Erin Gaines, ’13, and Megan Sheffield, ’13, were among nearly 60 fellows selected nationwide for the Equal Justice Works Fellowship Class of 2014.
The organization is dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice, according to its website. Each year Equal Justice Works awards fellowships to new attorneys passionate about developing new and innovative legal projects that can impact lives and serve communities in need of legal assistance.
“We are very pleased that Equal Justice Works has chosen to support three of our outstanding graduates through these highly competitive fellowships,” said Eden Harrington, director of the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law. “The law school is proud of their dedication to increasing access to justice.”
Erin Gaines, ’13, will be promoting access to safe housing in underserved, low-income neighborhoods along the Texas Gulf Coast by working with the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Victoria, Texas. Gaines graduated with distinction from Stanford University where she majored in Earth Systems, an interdisciplinary program in ecology, economics and policy, with a particular focus on agriculture. Following graduation, Gaines managed the Stanford Sustainable Food Program; coordinated the nationwide Real Food Calculator; and worked with a farming extension agency in southern Chile to promote development opportunities for small farmers. She was the first-ever pro bono coordinator for the Texas Law Review and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Gregg Costa with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Galveston, Texas. Her fellowship is sponsored by the Ottinger Family Foundation.
Gonzalo Serrano, ’14, will begin working with the Equal Justice Center in Dallas this September to expand the center’s justice mission in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Serrano attended McMurry University and worked as a legislative aide to Texas Senator Judith Zaffirini. While at Texas Law, he served in both the Immigration Clinic and in the Equal Justice Center. His fellowship is sponsored by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.
Megan Sheffield, ’13, will work with the Equal Justice Center in Austin to extend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) outreach and legal assistance into underserved outlying areas of Central, North and West Texas. Megan currently works as an attorney with Casa Marianella, Austin’s legendary immigrant shelter organization, where she provides specialized immigration assistance to immigrant women and children. She will begin her fellowship with the Equal Justice Center in September.