"Through the Equal Justice Scholarship, I was immediately welcomed by students, faculty, and staff dedicated to public interest law at Texas Law. That community played an indispensable role my entire time in law school - inspiring, mentoring, and supporting me. In addition, the Equal Justice Scholarship offered me a rare opportunity to explore my passions and creatively envision my public service career unencumbered by a large debt."
Erin Gaines is a supervising senior attorney at Earthjustice, a national nonprofit environmental law organization. Based in Austin, she focuses on representing frontline communities and non-profit groups challenging oil, gas, and petrochemical buildout in Texas and along the Gulf Coast.
Erin spent over six years at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid with the community development team. Based in Austin, she worked to promote access to safe housing in underserved neighborhoods, particularly along the Texas Gulf Coast, by addressing health and safety hazards from nearby industries. Her first two years of work at TRLA were funded by a prestigious two-year Equal Justice Works fellowship. In 2016 Erin received an Impact Award from the Poverty Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. The Impact Award honors a Texas attorney "for a recent, significant poverty law case . . . that had a broad impact on people of modest means in Texas or made a significant impact on the lives of indigent individuals in Texas by protecting, promoting, expanding, or vindicating their legal rights."
Immediately after law school, Erin clerked for Judge Gregg Costa, who was elevated during her clerkship from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
At Texas Law, Erin participated in the Transnational Worker Rights Clinic, the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, and the Environmental Clinic, and was an associate editor of the Texas Law Review, a Teaching Quizmaster, and president of the Public Interest Law Association, as well as an active participant in the Justice Center’s student advisory board. During the summers, she interned with the Farmers’ Legal Action Group in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and California Rural Legal Assistance in Salinas, California.