Lauryn Wedgeworth Named Garrison Social Justice Scholar for Class of 2025

Aug 23, 2023

Lauryn Wedgeworth of Birmingham, Alabama, has been selected at the Garrison Social Justice Scholar for the Class of 2025. Wedgeworth’s honor was announced by Assistant Dean and Martha Craig Daughtrey Director for Public Interest Beth Cruz ’10.

The Garrison Social Justice Scholarship supports students who will use their legal training to advance social justice by serving clients who have been disenfranchised, suffered discrimination, and who are unable to protect their rights. The scholarship, which is endowed by Amy Price Garrison (BA’79) and Frank M. Garrison ’79 (BA’76) through the Amy and Frank Garrison Social Justice Fund, is awarded each spring to a member of the current 1L class. Garrison Scholars receive a supplemental annual scholarship for their second and third years of law school.

The scholarship also includes stipend support to allow recipients to pursue unpaid legal work with public interest organizations during the two summers prior to graduation. Wedgeworth spent this summer working for Legal Services of Alabama, serving indigent clients in Anniston and Gadsden, Alabama.

“I found out I got the scholarship the same day I was offered the summer position with Legal Services, so it just lined up!” she said.

Wedgeworth set her sights on a career as a civil rights litigator during high school, when she learned about impact litigation. She chose Vanderbilt because of its Public Interest program, which supports students seeking to launch careers in civil rights and social justice law. “I knew what I wanted to do and that I’d need to go to a law school where I could discover and follow that path,” she said.

At Legal Services of Alabama, Wedgeworth conducted legal research and worked on an eviction appeal that involved a jury trial. “Etowah County, where the trial was held, has one of the highest rates of evictions in Alabama,” she said. “I learned a lot about the discovery process working on that trial.”

She was also a member of a four-student team who worked at North Mississippi Rural Legal Services through Vanderbilt’s Pro Bono Spring Break Program last March. “I worked on an adverse possession case, and we had just covered adverse possession in my Property class, so I felt well-prepared,” Wedgeworth said.

Wedgeworth also worked as a summer associate with Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella in Nashville.

Wedgeworth earned her undergraduate degree in history and political science magna cum laude at Howard University and then spent two years teaching history in Indianapolis, Indiana, through Teach for America before entering law school.

At VLS, she is the co-chair for BLSA Black History Month programming and serves the Nashville community as a tutor with Begin Anew, helping adults in the process of preparing to take the HiSET.

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