Public Interest News

More than 50 1Ls Attend Public Service Orientation

Aug. 17, 2023—Introduction to pro bono followed by breakout sessions on specific practice areas

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Seventy-one VLS Students Work as Interns for Government and Nonprofit Legal Employers During Summer 2023

Jun. 20, 2023—Students gain legal experience through summer internships with federal and state agencies, courts, and law offices and by working for prosecutors, public defenders, legal nonprofits, and corporate legal departments

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Introducing the “Climate at Vanderbilt” Podcast

May. 25, 2023—New series launched by J.B. Ruhl spotlights people, research, and programs focused on climate change

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Justin Brooks, Class of 2023

May. 23, 2023—Justin Brooks entered law school with an ardent desire to work in the public interest. “I knew I wanted to use the law to help other people, whether that meant working for a legal nonprofit or in government service,” he recalled. A Los Angeles native who earned his undergraduate degree in criminology and justice studies...

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Vanessa Demaral named 2023 Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow

May. 18, 2023—Demaral will be representing unaccompanied minors facing deportation during her two-year fellowship with Church World Service

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Jane Dimnwaobi Named 2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

May. 17, 2023—Dimnwaobi will work at the Tennessee Justice Center

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Madison Lowery named 2023 George Barrett Social Justice Fellow

May. 15, 2023—Lowery will work at the Tennessee Innocence Project, where she will help clients navigate re-entry.

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31 members of the Class of 2023 complete Pro Bono Pledge

May. 9, 2023—Kaylee Brilhart was recognized for logging the highest number of pro bono hours—1,668—as a VLS student. Six members of the Class of 2023 completed the Pro Bono Pledge in both 2022 and 2023.

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Judge Jane B. Stranch ’78 (BA’75) of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals hosted by VLS ACS chapter

Apr. 26, 2023—Judge Stranch discussed her career as a labor lawyer and an appellate judge in a Q&A moderated by ACS President Joey Vettiankal ’24.

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Environmental Policy Experts Convene at the Inaugural EELU State of the Environment Conference

Apr. 18, 2023—Hosted by the Energy, Environment, and Land Use Program, the event featured presentations and discussions from some of Tennessee’s most influential environmental leaders

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VLS Students Work for Three Legal Advocacy Organizations over 2023 Pro Bono Spring Break

Apr. 17, 2023—Student teams worked on projects to provide end-of-life resources for low-income clients, support indigent criminal defense, and offer civil legal services to formerly incarcerated women

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Stanton First Amendment Clinic: Advocating for Speech Rights on Social Media

Apr. 11, 2023—The Stanton First Amendment Clinic has advocated on a number of pressing speech, press, and assembly issues this academic year: authoring amicus briefs in the First and Ninth Circuits, litigating in state court to enhance access to public information and court filings, and researching emerging issues in the field.   The Clinic’s first project of...

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A Novel Argument for the Right to Public Education

Mar. 30, 2023—Study from Vanderbilt Law’s Matthew Patrick Shaw frames education as a Property Interest

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Ashley Wiltshire ’72 chronicles pioneering career as a legal aid attorney in new book, “Everyday Justice”

Feb. 27, 2023—Wiltshire headed the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands for 37 years before his retirement in 2007.

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28 employers participated in 2023 Government and Public Interest Day Jan. 13

Jan. 27, 2023—Representatives of 28 government and public interest employers came to VLS to speak with students on Government and Public Interest Day on Jan. 13. The annual event’s informal format allows students to learn about the work of various government agencies and legal aid organizations and explore summer and semester internship and pro bono opportunities.

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Career Services Public Interest News


Three VLS students pursue legal careers focusing on civil rights as Marshall-Motley Scholars

Jan. 24, 2023—Ashley Fox ’24, Adom Abatkun ’25 and Sophia Howard ’25 were selected for the first and second cohorts of a groundbreaking scholarship program created “to endow the South with the next generation of civil rights lawyers.” The program was developed by the Legal Defense Fund and named for former Supreme Court Justice and LDF founder Thurgood Marshall and pioneering civil rights litigator and former LDF attorney Constance Baker Motley.

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Justin Brooks ’23 and VLS staffer Erin Parr-Carranza named to AALS Section on Pro Bono and Access to Justice Honor Roll

Jan. 3, 2023—This is the inaugural year of the AALS Pro Bono Honor Roll. Vanderbilt honorees Brooks and Parr-Carranza are among 140 students, faculty and staffers representing 58 law schools to receive this recognition.

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Alumni Barrett Program News and Events Public Interest News


Lauren Sudeall to join Vanderbilt Law faculty in summer 2023

Nov. 28, 2022—Sudeall’s scholarship focuses on constitutional law, criminal procedure and access to justice. She is currently a professor at the Georgia State University College of Law, where she is the founding faculty director of the Center for Access to Justice.

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Incoming students tour historic social justice sites

Sep. 6, 2022—The tours, sponsored by Law Students for Social Justice, included historic sites in Nashville and on the Vanderbilt campus.

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Alumni Barrett Program News and Events Equity, Diversity and Community Public Interest News


More than 75 1Ls attend Public Service Orientation

Aug. 19, 2022—The event exposes incoming students to public service opportunities at VLS and in Nashville and connects them with faculty and local attorneys who work in the public interest.

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Francesca L. Procaccini joins VLS faculty as assistant professor

Aug. 2, 2022—Procaccini was a Climenko Fellow at Harvard Law and taught at Yale Law. Her scholarship focuses on constitutional law, First Amendment law, federal courts and civil procedure.

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