"I think many students plan on going into public interest law and then they get to law school and think that it's just going to be too hard -- too hard to get a job, too hard to pay off loans, just too hard in this economy. I would encourage students interested in public interest work to stick it out. There are many people, especially in the William Wayne Justice Center and the Career Services Office, who are able and willing to point students to new resources and new programs. If you're passionate about public interest work, don't let fear that you can't 'make it' keep you from pursuing justice."
"It's also incredibly important to cultivate relationships with professors and mentors early. I knew I wanted to do domestic violence law, so as a 1L I volunteered to do research for a professor at Texas Law whose specialty was domestic violence. That volunteer work turned into a research assistant job, which led to my paper being published, which led to excellent recommendations, and a job. I wouldn't have my fellowship and I wouldn't have the contacts and opportunities I have now if I hadn't been persistent, introduced myself as a 1L, and shown I was serious and interested in domestic violence law. No matter what area of law you are interested in, make your own opportunities. The staff at Texas Law is excellent -- take the initiative to cultivate relationships and make yourself known."
Lisa Snead is supervising attorney for the Institutional Rights and Civil Liberties team at Disability Rights Texas in Austin. She represents men and women with intellectual disabilities residing in the large, state-run institutions as well as individuals with mental illnesses who need help accessing community resources. Lisa first worked at Disability Rights Texas as a Skadden Fellow.
At Texas Law, Lisa participated in the Domestic Violence Clinic, the Domestic Violence Survivor Support Network, The Review of Litigation, and the Student Hurricane Network. She also worked as a research assistant for Professor Sarah Buel and as a LexisNexis student representative. She spent her summers working with the Texas Advocacy Project in Austin and CASA in Newport News, Virginia.