Madison Lowery has been named the George Barrett Social Justice Fellow for the Vanderbilt Law Class of 2023. Lowery will serve her one-year fellowship with the Tennessee Innocence Project (TIP), a Nashville-based nonprofit law firm that investigates and litigates claims of actual innocence from wrongfully convicted persons in Tennessee.
Lowery’s appointment as a George Barrett Social Justice Fellow was announced by Dean Chris Guthrie. The Barrett Social Justice Fellowship honors the legacy of renowned Nashville civil rights attorney George “The Citizen” Barrett ’57 by enabling a Vanderbilt Law graduate to carry out a one-year public interest project under the supervision and sponsorship of a host organization. The law school funds the fellow’s salary and health insurance at the host organization.
Lowery worked on wrongful conviction cases at TIP as an intern and law clerk from May through December 2022, analyzing police reports, trial transcripts, and appellate records; interviewing witnesses; and briefing post-conviction petitions. She also worked as a law clerk for the Nashville Defenders from January 2022 to May 2023 and as a law clerk for Legal Services of South-Central Michigan in Lansing in the summer of 2021.
As a Barrett Fellow, she plans to develop and implement a community re-entry plan to support TIP clients whose convictions are overturned.
“Most TIP clients must reenter the community after being incarcerated for more than a decade. To transition from prison back into the community, exonerees must navigate complicated systems to restore or build their quality of life—getting driver’s licenses, finding housing and employment, and accessing healthcare,” said Lowery. “I will be working with TIP attorneys and staff to put community reentry plan in place to assist clients with this challenging transition. The result will be an enduring and tested community reentry plan that can continue after my fellowship ends.”
“Madison is very familiar with the work we do at The Tennessee Innocence Project, and she cares about the mission, and she cares about the people we represent,” said Tennessee Innocence Project Deputy Director Jason Gichner ’02. “Our clients spend decades locked up for crimes they did not commit, but they face new and unique challenges after exoneration. Madison will continue the fight for our clients, even after their convictions are overturned. We are excited that she is taking on this project and grateful to Vanderbilt for selecting her as a George Barrett Social Justice Fellow.”
At Vanderbilt Law School, Lowery was a Chancellor’s Law Scholar and the executive student writing editor of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. She was also a Jessup International Moot Court Team Oralist and a mentor for first-year students through the Law School’s Co-counsel program.
Lowery earned her B.S. from Central Michigan University. She taught high school English in Hopkins, Michigan, for three years before entering law school.