Supreme Court Clinic Claims Victory in Washington

Students from The University of Texas School of Law’s Supreme Court Clinic can boast an unbeaten record in cases before the United States Supreme Court.

The students worked on behalf of two clients, Cheryle and Larry Jesinoski, who argued their mortgage lender, Countrywide Home Loans, hadn’t properly interpreted the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). The Supreme Court unanimously agreed, and Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the opinion in favor of the Jesinoskis.

“To contribute to the case and to a 9-0 victory was incredible,” Lisa Elizondo, a 3L, told the Austin American-Statesman. “[Even] most practicing attorneys will never, ever take a case to the Supreme Court and will never get the kind of experience we did.”

“Our hard work paid off,” added Emily Fitzgerald, also a 3L.

Elizondo and Fitzgerald are just two of the 21 students from the Supreme Court Clinic who toiled on the case for more than a year and a half. The students were central to the strategic planning, research and drafting of briefs in the case. Professor David Frederick handled the oral argument against former Solicitor General Seth Waxman. The Supreme Court Clinic is run by Professors Lynn Blais and Michael Sturley, along with Frederick, all of whom were counsel on the case.

The students were able to attend the oral arguments, which was especially thrilling. “[Being there was] definitely a highlight,” Fitzgerald said.

Two non-faculty members were also members of the litigation team. The case was handled at the trial stage and on appeal in the Eighth Circuit by Michael Keogh, who contributed his TILA expertise to the Supreme Court litigation. Matthew Seligman of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen was a vital member of the Supreme Court briefing team.

Students who worked on the Jesinoski case:

Nicholas Bruno, ’14
Jason Danowsky, ’14
Kate Ergenbright, ’14
David James, ’14
Zachary Jarrett, ’14
Kathryn Bailey, ’14
Michael Eshaghia, ’14
Poorav Rohatgi, ’14
Vincent Wagner, ’14
Ryan Meltzer, ’14
Amy Heard, ’14
Roderick Hatch, ’14
Rocco Magni, ’14
Christa Powers, ’14
Danielle Wolfson, ’15
Hayden Schottlaender, ’15
Stephen Moulton, ’15
Michael Hurta, ’15
Jeff Pettit, ’15
Lisa Elizondo, ’15
Emily Fitzgerald, ’15

For more information about the Supreme Court Clinic at Texas Law, contact: Michael Sturley, director, at msturley@law.utexas.edu.