Seven Members of the Class of 2020 Awarded Texas Law Postgraduate Public Interest Fellowships

Seven Members of the Class of 2020 Awarded Texas Law Postgraduate Public Interest Fellowships

Texas Law has awarded postgraduate public interest fellowships to five graduating students. Each fellow will receive funding through the Law School to support their first year of employment at a nonprofit or public defense organization. Two graduating students have been selected for postgraduate fellowships by the Gallogly Family Foundation.

“We are proud of these outstanding graduating students and their impressive commitment to public service,” said Eden Harrington, director of the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, which administers the postgraduate fellowship programs at the Law School. “We know they will have a positive impact on their communities, and we are very grateful to the generous supporters who helped make these fellowships possible.”

Roya Atashi will receive the Mike A. Myers Fellowship in Public Interest Law, funded by Mike A. Myers ’63. Atashi will work with the Texas Advocacy Project in Austin, focused on assisting survivors of intimate partner violence in cases involving the return of abducted children under the Hague Convention. As a student, Atashi participated in the Human Rights Clinic and the Domestic Violence Clinic, and worked for the Texas Civil Rights Project in Dallas and the Criminal Prosecutions Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas in Austin.

Meredith Luneack will receive the Julius Glickman Fellowship in Public Interest Law, funded by Julius Glickman ’66, to work for the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice representing immigrants in Louisiana. As a student, Luneack was president of OUTLaw; a member of the Law School’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion; a Mithoff Pro Bono Scholar, assisting with immigration matters as a 3L and with the Gender Affirmation Project as a 2L; and a co-organizer of GRITS, the Getting Radical in the South conference. Luneack participated in the Criminal Defense Clinic and Immigration Clinic, and worked for the Capital Area Private Defender Service in Austin and the Detroit Justice Center in Detroit, Michigan.

Kevin Trahan will receive the G. Rollie White Trust Fellowship in Public Interest Law, funded with support from the G. Rollie White Trust, to work at the Texas Defender Service to represent people sentenced to death in post-conviction proceedings and collect information to identify successful mitigation presentations in capital trials. As a student, he participated in the Civil Rights Clinic, Capital Punishment Clinic, and Criminal Defense Clinic, and spent his summers working with the UN Criminal Tribunals in the Hague and the Southern Poverty Law Center in New Orleans. He also interned with the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Texas, the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs, and the Lone Star Justice Alliance, all in Austin.

Two students will receive Texas Law Gideon’s Promise Fellowships through the Law School’s partnership with Gideon’s Promise, a nonprofit that works to reform indigent defense through training and support of public defenders. Gideon’s Promise helps law school graduates secure public defender positions and provides them with three years of intensive training. The Law School funds the fellows’ first year of work. The Gideon’s Promise Fellows are:

Madeline Hillsmith will work with the Jefferson County Community Law Office in Birmingham, Alabama. As a student, she was a board member of If/When/How, a co-organizer of GRITS, and a member of the Public Defense Group, and participated in the Mithoff Pro Bono Program’s annual winter break trip to south Texas. She participated in the Capital Punishment Clinic and the Criminal Defense Clinic, and worked for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas in Dallas and the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Jessica Tremayne will work with the Metropolitan Public Defender’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee. As a student, Jessica served as a Mithoff Pro Bono Scholar focused on special education projects and was online content associate editor of the Texas Law Review. She participated in the Juvenile Justice Clinic, Criminal Defense Clinic, and Children’s Rights Clinic, and worked for the Juvenile Rights Practice of the Legal Aid Society of New York in Brooklyn and the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights in New Orleans.

Two students have been awarded postgraduate fellowships by the Gallogly Family Foundation, which generously funds these opportunities for Texas Law graduates to gain experience in public interest work and to improve access to quality legal services. These are a one-year fellowships with the option to renew for a second year. The Gallogly Family Foundation Public Interest Law Fellows are:

Elena Thompson work for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio in Columbus focused on defending students in K-12 public education from discrimination by school administrators based on race, sex, and LGBTQ status. As a student, Thompson was an articles editor for the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights. She participated in the Civil Rights Clinic and worked as a voting rights clerk for the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin. In the summers, she worked for the Ohio Civil Rights Commission in Columbus and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas in Houston.

Allison Wright will work on immigration and employment law issues at the Equal Justice Center’s Austin office. Her plans include organizing naturalization and DACA clinics in remote, under-served cities, towns, and rural areas in Texas. As a student, Wright volunteered with a variety of immigration-related pro bono projects and participated in the Children’s Rights Clinic, Immigration Clinic, and Transnational Worker Rights Clinic. In the summers, she worked on immigration matters with the Equal Justice Center and Casa Marianella, both in Austin. She was also an associate editor of the Texas Law Review and is a Chancellor, one of the sixteen law students who achieve the highest-grade point averages in their class through their second year.