The University of Texas School of Law has awarded its 11th Equal Justice Scholarship to Elizabeth Esser-Stuart and second G. Rollie White Public Service Scholarship to Tyler Somes. Both scholarships are awarded to an incoming first-year student who has a demonstrated commitment to social justice. The students are selected through a competitive process, including an interview with a faculty selection committee.
“These two impressive incoming students are already committed to increasing access to justice,” said Eden Harrington. “We look forward to their arrival and to helping them prepare for careers serving the public.”
Elizabeth Esser-Stuart, Equal Justice Scholar
Esser-Stuart graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, where she concentrated in Philosophy and Political Science. Since college, she has worked in New York City, most recently at the New York Legal Assistance Group, where she was special projects coordinator in the LegalHealth Division. “Through my work with the New York Legal Assistance Group, I have seen how civil legal services powerfully impact the lives of low-income people,” Esser-Stuart said. “I am honored to have been awarded the Equal Justice Scholarship and excited to join the dedicated and compassionate public interest community at the University of Texas.”
Esser-Stuart joins current scholars Alex Stamm, ’17, and Kelsey Chapple, ’16. This summer Stamm is working for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in San Antonio and Chapple is working for the ACLU in Washington D.C. Following graduation Chapple will clerk for Judge Theodore McKee, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and Judge Randolph Moss of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The Equal Justice Scholarship was established in partnership with the Texas Access to Justice Commission to increase access to justice in Texas. The scholarship’s scope has since been expanded to embrace post-graduate work outside Texas. The scholarship covers tuition and fees for three years of legal study. Esser-Stuart has committed to working on a full-time basis for three years after law school providing direct legal services to low-income individuals or groups at a nonprofit organization in the U.S.
Tyler Somes, G. Rollie White Public Service Scholar
Somes graduated from George Washington University with a degree in International Affairs. Before moving to Austin, he lived in Brooklyn, New York and worked as a union organizer for the Service Employees International Union. “In law school I hope to develop new skills with which to continue strengthening movements for social and economic justice,” Somes said. “I am looking forward to embracing Texas Law’s programs in public interest advocacy and learning as much as possible.”
The G. Rollie White Public Service Scholarship is funded by a generous gift from the G. Rollie White Trust and is designed to help increase access to justice and encourage public service by students. It provides $15,000 each year for three years to an entering student with strong academic credentials and demonstrated commitment to public service who plans to pursue a legal career helping underserved populations. Paige Duggins, ‘17, the inaugural scholar, is working this summer at the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin.