Thank You, Summer Law Clerks!
Law student spends summer with Texas Civil Rights Project, thanks to fellowship from Baron & Budd
by Jeanne Graham
Law student Vanshika Vij is working for 10 weeks this summer with the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin -- and getting paid for it -- thanks to a public interest fellowship financed by Dallas' Baron & Budd.
"It's very different from law school, very different from classes," says Vij, a 1L from the University of Texas School of Law. "It's a lot of valuable, practical experience in terms of client interviews and taking on a variety of tasks," she says. "I'm going to be able to draft a complaint and be able to put a grievance into legal terminology in the way the system requires. I'm really excited to work on that and the process that goes with that."
Vij says she interviews potential clients, does investigations and helps determine whether a client has a case. "Being able to do all these things on my own, it gives me a lot of confidence to be able to take the initiative and hopefully have a career in litigation."
"I worked on several disability rights cases, including one against the City of Austin for equal access to parks and pools. The process of meeting with clients and hearing their stories was inspiring and I was I also particularly enjoyed getting to work on a Public Information Act request case for which we sued the City of Austin for a writ of mandamus. Getting to be involved in the case from its inception, to researching the case and writing the brief, and then being able to be at the trial was an amazing learning experience."
-- Vanshika Vij
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at the TCRP Website
Baron & Budd is supporting Vij and four other first-year UT Law students with $4,250 fellowships, enabling each to work 10 weeks in public interest law.
"I went to UT [law] many, many years ago, and it gave me a great start," says Russell Budd, president and managing shareholder of Baron & Budd. "UT provided me with a great career that I love and continue to enjoy every day. I'm hoping this fellowship provides the same things for some of the young law students interested in public interest work."
The firm gave the law school a gift seven or eight years ago to fund the fellowships and a public interest scholarship program, Budd says. The law school's William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law administers both programs.
Three weeks into her summer job, Vij says she's "actually" been applying what she learned in her civil procedure class. "It's been incredibly rewarding already," Vij says. "I feel that I am learning in leaps and bounds.
TCRP 22nd Annual Bill of Rights Dinner featuring Equal-Pay Plaintiff Lilly Ledbetter, Oct. 27, 2012, UT Alumni Center, Austin. Click here for program info and tickets