Six students at The University of Texas School of Law have been awarded University Co-op Public Interest Awards in honor of their extraordinary commitment to public service.
This annual award honors graduating law students for work in non-profit, government or legislative sectors and for pro bono legal and other volunteer activities. Each student will receive a $5,000 award made possible by a grant from the University Co-op, and administered by the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at the Law School.
The students will also be recognized at the University Co-op Awards for Excellence in Graduate Education banquet on Wednesday, May 16.
“We are delighted to honor these outstanding graduating students. They are dedicated to the highest callings of our profession–serving the public and increasing access to justice for underserved individuals and communities,” said Professor Eden Harrington, director of the Justice Center at UT Law. “We commend them for their commitment to public service and are pleased to be able to recognize their many contributions to the Law School and the public interest field.”
The following students have received University Co-op Public Interest Awards for 2007:
Shelly Chattopadhyay has accepted a position as an Honors Attorney with the National Labor Relations Board where she will help to protect the rights of workers. She has worked as a Baron and Budd fellow for the Capital Area AIDS Legal Project and as a law clerk for the Bastrop County D.A.’s Office and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Eagle Pass. As a result of her work in Eagle Pass, Chattopadhyay has drafted a domestic violence code for the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas and is working with the Tribe to adopt it into law. At the Law School, Chattopadhyay was notes editor for the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, membership chair for the American Constitution Society, and treasurer for Street Law. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.
Parisa Fatehi has accepted a clerkship with U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore in Houston. She is currently an intern with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, and previously interned with the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin and the National Employment Law Project in New York City. At the Law School, she was a student attorney with the Immigration Law Clinic and the Transnational Worker Rights Clinic. Fatehi has also been president of the American Constitution Society, a Human Rights Scholar with the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, and a Public Service Scholar with the Justice Center. She is co-chair of Concerned Students for LRAP (Loan Repayment Assistance Program) and co-founder of the Middle Eastern Law Students’ Association. Fatehi will graduate in May with dual J.D./Master of Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She is a Plan II honors graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.
Elizabeth Hardy has accepted a judicial clerkship at the South African Constitutional Court and hopes to pursue a career in international criminal law and death penalty defense. Hardy has participated in the Rule of Law Clinic, helping to defend Guantanamo detainees and challenging the Military Commissions Act. She has been involved with death penalty advocacy as a summer associate at Williams and Connolly and Mayer Brown Rowe and Maw and as a law clerk for the Texas Defender Service. At the Law School, Hardy was a Human Rights Scholar with the Rapoport Center, the administrative editor of Texas Law Review, and a participant in the Supreme Court Clinic and the Capital Punishment Clinic. Hardy is an honors graduate of Yale University.
Shirley Horng has worked as a law clerk for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Eagle Pass, helping those who lack access to justice. She was the vice-president of Texas Law Fellowships, secretary of the Public Interest Law Association, and a Public Service Scholar with the Justice Center. She also has been a student attorney with the Housing Law Clinic and the Criminal Defense Clinic at the Law School. Horng is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Plan II at the University of Texas at Austin and plans to pursue a career in public interest law.
Tom Linney has worked as a Baron and Budd fellow at the Texas Humane Legislation Network researching and drafting legislation to promote the humane treatment of animals. He was instrumental in establishing Animal Law as a course at the Law School and founded the UT Law chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. Linney has worked with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s Telephone Access to Justice Project and as an intern for Senator Eliot Shapleigh and the Texas Legislative Council. At the Law School he served as the president of the Environmental Law Society and the vice-president of the Public Interest Law Association. Linney is an honors graduate of the University of Texas, El Paso and hopes to pursue a career working in the field of animal protection.
Elizabeth Wagoner has accepted a position at Make the Road by Walking in Brooklyn, NY, where she will develop a project to provide legal services, civil rights training, and impact litigation to support low-income immigrant women workers. She also worked for Make the Road by Walking as a legal intern during the summer of 2005 and the fall of 2006. Wagoner is currently a law clerk with Deats, Durst, Owen and Levy in Austin, where she researches employment discrimination claims. She has also worked on labor law issues as a Peggy Browning Fellow for Unite Here in New York and as a student attorney in UT Law’s Transnational Worker Rights Clinic. She is active with the National Lawyers Guild, the Student-Farmworker Alliance, and the Public Interest Law Association, and is co-chair of Concerned Students for LRAP. Wagoner is a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University.