Samantha Hunt ’23, has been named a 2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow. During her two-year fellowship, Hunt will represent students who are pregnant or parenting through A Better Balance, a New York-based advocacy organization that advocates for pregnant workers and caregivers to advance supportive work-family policies.
“I came to law school to build a skillset that would help me directly serve students, and my aims for this new project are to educate students about their rights to accommodation under federal, state, and local regulations, and to provide direct legal services to students seeking accommodations such as remote exam options, excused absences for prenatal care, and space for pumping,” Hunt said. “The project expands the reach of A Better Balance’s work advocating for pregnant employees and caregivers who face workplace discrimination to help pregnant students and students who are parents who need accommodations.”
Hunt learned about A Better Balance through the Law School’s Public Interest Office. “The work they do helping pregnant and parenting employees get the accommodations they need is critical, important advocacy,” she said, “and I’m honored to join their team in a capacity that expands their work to meet the needs of students.”
Her fellowship at A Better Balance is sponsored by Merck and Covington & Burling.
”We are thrilled to welcome Samantha to the ABB team,” said Katherine Greenberg, Director of Strategic Litigation at A Better Balance. “Her project will provide critical education, advice, and representation to ensure pregnant and parenting students are able to enforce their rights and complete their education.”
Hunt was a Notes Editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review. Her Note “Utilizing Telemedicine to Expand Abortion Access” was published in January 2023. “Diving deeper into the case law and background surrounding gender discrimination and reproductive health has informed how I want to approach my work,” she said.
She was a Chancellor’s Law Scholar, a Justice-Moore Scholar, and recipient of the Dean’s Leadership Award and the Damali A. Booker Outstanding 3L Award. She served as 3L representative in the Vanderbilt Bar Association and as secretary of the VLS chapter of If-When-How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice.
In summer 2022 Hunt worked as a law clerk at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York, where she authored impact litigation strategies, created a 50-state survey on civil service employment protections, and created a nationwide database of state-level education funding to support policy analysis.
During law school in Nashville, she also worked as an intern for the ACLU of Tennessee and the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, where she supported the family, labor and tax practice groups, as a volunteer with Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and Northern Mississippi, and as a research assistant for legal historian Daniel J. Sharfstein.
Hunt holds a B.A. in International Studies and Political Science from Dominican University of California. Before entering law school, she worked as a field representative for California State Assemblymember Marc Levine of Marin and Sonoma counties, helping constituents access benefits such as paid family leave, as a paralegal for a boutique immigration firm, and as a fellow in Turkey supporting Syrian refugees. “My work as a paralegal gave me hands-on experience with meeting clients and packaging cases, and it was enhanced with my fellowship in Turkey, where I interviewed and worked with mothers from Syria,” she said.
Hunt is one of two Equal Justice Works Fellows in the VLS Class of 2023.