Public Interest News

Over 70 1Ls attend Public Service Orientation

Sep. 6, 2019—Assistant Dean for Public Interest Spring Miller and eight attorneys engaged in legal advocacy in Nashville introduced first-year law students to opportunities to gain legal experience through pro bono service with local organizations.

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Public Interest News


Holly Thompson and Vanessa Zapata named George Barrett Social Justice Fellows for 2019

May. 21, 2019—Thompson will focus on labor trafficking at Legal Aid of North Carolina; Zapata will advocate for medical care and support for adults with disabilities at the Tennessee Justice Center.

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Wesley Dozier ’19 (BA’16) named Equal Justice Works Fellow

May. 14, 2019—Dozier will work at Just City, a legal nonprofit in Memphis that focuses on adults and teenagers involved with the criminal justice system.

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2019 graduates Sam Heller and Jordyn McCarley named Gideon’s Promise Fellows

May. 9, 2019—Heller will join the Hamilton County Public Defender’s office in Cincinnati, Ohio. McCarley will join the Nashville Public Defenders.

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Megan Mitchell ’19 wins Regional Public Interest Award from Equal Justice Works

May. 8, 2019—Mitchell is the winner for the South Region of the Equal Justice Works competition.

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Annie Cappetta and Eileen Bautista Fay named Class of 2021 Garrison Social Justice Scholars

Apr. 29, 2019—Fay will spend this summer working at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence; Cappetta will work at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates for digital privacy and free speech, and South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center

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Mitchell Galloway ’19 selected for Department of Justice Honors Program

Apr. 24, 2019—Galloway will join the Criminal Enforcement Section of the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice based in Washington, D.C.

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23 students recognized for completing Vanderbilt’s Pro Bono Pledge

Apr. 24, 2019—Students logged a combined 6,908 of pro bono legal work and community service as participants in Vanderbilt’s Pro Bono Pledge program.

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Pro Bono Spring Break student teams support lending reform and property tax appeals in Atlanta

Apr. 18, 2019—Six students worked at Atlanta Legal Aid with Equal Justice Works Fellow Darrius Woods ’17, supporting programs to reform predatory lending practices and provide property tax relief to low-income clients.

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Aisha McWeay ’09, executive director of Still She Rises Tulsa, featured in Essence Q&A

Apr. 9, 2019—McWeay was named executive director of Still She Rises Tulsa, an initiative of the Bronx Defenders that represents mothers in the criminal justice system, in January. Essence magazine published this interview with McWeay March 19.

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Pro Bono Spring Break students advocate for immigrants held in an ICE detention center

Apr. 3, 2019—George Barrett Social Justice Fellow Lynn Stopher ’18 and a team of five VLS students traveled to Ocilla, Georgia, to meet with immigrant detainees to support the work of the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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2019 Government and Public Interest Day

Jan. 23, 2019—24 government organizations and legal nonprofits come to VLS to discuss public service employment opportunities.

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VLS alum and students partner with Vanderbilt Medical team to support Medical/Legal Partnership

Jan. 21, 2019—Retired trial lawyer Kent Halkett ’81 supports student volunteers providing pro bono legal support to low-income patients of the Shade Tree Clinic, through which students at Vanderbilt Medical School provide free care for uninsured patients.

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VLS students join pro bono legal team to help low-income victims of massive fraud scheme

Jan. 11, 2019—Students support Social Security Disability Appeals of low-income Kentuckians whose benefits were revoked after their lawyer was convicted of fraud.

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Adrienne Kittos ’09 honored as Tennessee Bar Association’s Ashley Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year

Jan. 10, 2019—Kittos was legal director of Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors, which provides low-cost legal services to immigrants, for nine years.

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Alumni Public Interest News


Angie Bergman ’13 honored as Tennessee Bar Association’s Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year

Jan. 10, 2019—Bergman is an associate with Bass Berry & Sims in Nashville. She was honored for her pro bono representation of a client accused of murder.

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Alumni Public Interest News


Gautam Hans launches First Amendment Clinic at VLS

Nov. 7, 2018—Funded through a grant from The Stanton Foundation, the clinic will give students opportunities to development and use legal strategies while working on cases addressing First Amendment rights.

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Public Interest Law conference addresses reform prosecutors, bail reform, access to justice and economic justice

Nov. 6, 2018—Conference hosted by the George Barrett Social Justice Program features 20 leading advocates and scholars in the areas of immigration law, criminal procedure and economic justice.

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Randy Hiroshige ’20 J.D./M.T.S.

Oct. 16, 2018—Randy Hiroshige’s undergraduate courses in ethics and philosophy led him to consider a career in law. “During college, I started to see how structures propagate injustice and developed an ethical commitment to helping those ground down by legal structures,” he said. His desire to pursue graduate degrees in both law and theology led him to...

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Cara Suvall joins Vanderbilt’s law faculty as an assistant clinical professor of law

Aug. 16, 2018—Suvall will teach the new Youth Opportunity Clinic, which will support to youth who are at risk for criminal legal involvement.

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105 VLS students receive 2018 summer stipends to support pro bono legal work

Jul. 9, 2018—VLS students are working in 18 states, D.C. and the Netherlands for federal and state courts, government legal departments and nonprofits.

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45 VLS students receive course credit to support pro bono legal work in summer 2019

Jul. 9, 2018—Students secured externships with federal and state courses, government agencies and legal nonprofits and in corporate legal offices.

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Kevin Coker and Sean Dowling named 2018 Gideon’s Promise Fellows

May. 17, 2018—Coker will work at the Metropolitan Nashville Public Defender’s Office and Dowling for the Shelby County Defenders.

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Alana Seixas and Lynn Stopher named 2018 George Barrett Social Justice Fellows

May. 17, 2018—Stopher will work at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago; Seixas will work at the Children’s Law Center in Lexington, Kentucky.

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Kristen Clarke of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law delivers 2018 George Barrett Social Justice Lecture

Apr. 10, 2018—Clarke’s lecture, “Democracy under Attack: Race, Rights and Resistance,” addresses the role of lawyers in responding to racial injustice, voter suppression and other civil rights issues.

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