Seven members of the class of 2022 have received public interest postgraduate fellowships through Texas Law. Each fellow will receive law school funding to support their first year of employment at a nonprofit or public defense organization.
“We are pleased to be able to support these outstanding graduates as they begin their legal careers,” said Eden Harrington, director of the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, which supports the postgraduate fellowship programs. “Texas Law applauds the students’ dedication to public service and thanks the generous supporters who have made these fellowships possible.”
Samantha Acuña will receive the Ramsey Clark Fellowship in Public Interest Law, funded by a generous gift from family of Ramsey Clark, who was U.S. Attorney General during the Johnson administration and a force behind civil rights laws of the era. Samantha will work at the Equal Justice Center in Austin to expand its employment law representation of immigrant and low-wage workers in South Texas, with a particular focus on the Rio Grande Valley. As a law student, Samantha participated in the Transnational Workers Rights Clinic and the Immigration Clinic, and volunteered to assist residents of the Rio Grande Valley as part of Pro Bono in January, the Richard and Ginni Mithoff Pro Bono Program’s annual winter break service trip.
Cassie Geiken will receive the Texas Law Parole Project Fellowship to work with the Mithoff Pro Bono Program to expand the reach of the Parole Project and identify ways to increase pro bono parole representation in Texas. The fellowship is made possible through the generosity of a private donor. As a law student, Cassie served as a Mithoff Program Pro Bono Scholar, leading the Parole Project, and volunteered for the Expunction Project, DACA renewal clinics, and the Bexar County Public Defender’s Office as part of Pro Bono in January. She was a student in the Civil Rights Clinic, Actual Innocence Clinic, and Human Rights Clinic.
Emily Johnston will receive the Julius Glickman Fellowship in Public Interest Law, funded by Julius Glickman ’66. She will work with the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy to expand access to public benefits and healthcare for LGBTQ and HIV+ North Carolinians who face barriers to accessing benefits. As a law student, Emily served as a Pro Bono Scholar with the Mithoff Program’s Gender Affirmation Project and participated in the Civil Rights Clinic, Domestic Violence Clinic, and Housing Clinic.
Shanti Khanna will receive the 4Girls Foundation Postgraduate Fellowship in Law to work at the Austin Community Law Center. Brittany Perkins Castillo ’13, a member of the 4Girls board, established and managed the direct legal services practice at The Safe Alliance after graduating from Texas Law. Shanti will provide legal representation to individuals whose parental rights have been involuntarily terminated, filing reinstatement of parental rights petitions under a new statute. As a law student, Shanti participated in the Children’s Rights Clinic and the Juvenile Justice Clinic. During her third year, she served as the Scott Ozmun Fellow with Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, assisting with child custody, divorce, and domestic violence cases, and helping manage legal advice clinics.
Gardner Lange will receive the G. Rollie White Trust Fellowship in Public Interest Law, funded by support from the G. Rollie White Trust, to work with RAICES (the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) in Austin assisting the Children’s Program and Litigation Department to develop screenings and systems to expand access to federal courts for migrant children. As a law student, Gardner participated in the Immigration Clinic as well as a range of activities with the Mithoff Pro Bono Program, including immigration matters, driver’s license recovery, the Expunction Project, and the Gender Affirmation Project. He spent his 1L summer with the ACLU of Utah in Salt Lake City and his 2L summer in Austin with RAICES’ Released Unaccompanied Children’s Program.
Sadie McLaughlin will receive the Mike A. Myers Fellowship in Public Interest Law, funded by Mike A. Myers ’63. She will work with the Texas Advocacy Project in Austin, focusing on the intersection of gun violence and intimate partner violence, particularly with respect to rural victims. As a law student, Sadie was president of Texas Law Fellowships and participated in the Immigration Clinic and the Domestic Violence Clinic. She spent her 1L summer with the Texas Advocacy Project and her 2L summer with the Family Violence Division of the Travis County Attorney’s Office.
Midushi Pandey will receive a Texas Law Gideon’s Promise Fellowship through a 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. Texas Law funds the fellows’ first year of work. Midushi will work at the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a law student, Midushi served as a Mithoff Program Pro Bono Scholar, leading Psychiatric Advancement Directive pro bono clinics, and was a student in the Capital Punishment Clinic and the Criminal Defense Clinic.