Posted May 11, 2004
Law Students Rewarded for Commitment to
During a year when students documented more than 10,000 pro bono hours—an
increase of more than 1,000 hours and a 35 percent jump in participation
from last year—second-year law students Pat Lavelle and Katie
Bagley stood out, making their marks in the fields of workers' rights
and international human rights, and criminal law, respectively. Lavelle
received the Mortimer
Caplin Public Service Fellowship and Bagley garnered the Linda
A. Fairstein Public Service Fellowship this year, both of which
grant $5,000 for three years. They reflected on their experiences before
heading off to summer jobs.
PAT LAVELLE 2004
Mortimer Caplin Public Service Fellow
Public service activities at the law school/during summers: Since
coming to law school, I’ve focused to a certain degree
on workers’ rights and international human rights. I spent
last summer in New York at the legal department of the Union
of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE), a
union that represents low-wage garment, industrial laundry, and
home-care workers. There I had the opportunity to speak with
workers coerced or fired for exercising their rights, and to
help them make unfair labor practice complaints with the National
Labor Relations Board. I also drafted a paper presented to the
American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section
and participated in research for an Alien Tort Claims Act case
involving coercive labor conditions in Saipan. This summer I’ll
be doing a mix of direct services and employment discrimination
class actions at the Legal Aid Employment Law Center in San Francisco.
At law school, I’ve been involved in PILA and National
Lawyers’ Guild and the Conference on Public Service and
the Law, as well as the International Human Rights Law Clinic,
and have participated in pro bono projects for EarthRights International,
AFL-CIO, and the Immigrant Detention Project.
Public service activities pre-law school (if any): During
and after college, I spent several years dabbling in a bunch
of different things. I did research and community education on
welfare reform in Minnesota one summer, and helped organize hotel
workers in Cleveland another with the AFL-CIO’s Union Summer.
I worked for a year for the Government Accountability Project,
a nonprofit dedicated to protecting government and corporate
whistleblowers, doing legal intake and policy research and writing
on both the World Trade Organization (just before the WTO’s
meetings in Seattle) and assorted mishaps involving nuclear waste.
After that, I spent the next two years at nonprofits in Seattle
committed to helping low- and moderate-income people attain affordable
housing, doing outreach, grant writing, volunteer coordination,
and research. Then I quit, went to South America for a couple
of months, and came to Virginia.
What interested you in law and public service? Public
service was something I’ve been drawn to for a long time;
that’s due, probably, to some combination of hearing stories
about my grandfather (who organized railroad clerks in Sacramento),
a Jesuit high-school education, and other people and experiences
along the way that convinced me that far too many people get
a raw deal in ways at least partially attributable to bad law
and social policies. I figured law might be a good way to pursue
activism because of the intellectual challenge involved in practice,
because having a J.D. opens doors, and because it’s a relatively
Favorite public-service oriented class? Probably
the International Human Rights Law Clinic.
Best experience in public service? Hmm, that’s
a tough one. Getting a chance to do work with EarthRights International
on behalf of Doe v. Unocal (the Alien Tort Claims Act
case involving severe abuses in Burma ) was pretty neat, if only
because the case is at the forefront of legal history in holding
American corporations accountable for human rights abuses they
commit overseas. I’m going to Jordan later this month to
interview workers for a human rights report through the International
Human Rights Law Clinic, which should be pretty cool, too.
Any special plans for your award? I haven’t
decided just yet. Nothing too glamorous. Maybe a down payment
for a condo or a fixer-upper.
KATIE BAGLEY 2004
Linda A.Fairstein Public Service Fellow
Public service activities at the law school/during
summers: Last year, I worked on an ongoing pro bono
project for a local domestic violence shelter. I spent the
summer in the criminal division of a U.S. Attorney's Office.
This year, I was the Manager for the Conference on Public Service & the
Law, which was very time-consuming but turned out to be worth
all the work. I also did some pro bono work for a local attorney
on an appeal to the Fourth Circuit for an indigent defendant.
It dealt with search & seizure law, so it ended up being
a great way to study for my criminal investigation class. I'm
also a student assistant at the Public Service Center. This
summer, I'll be interning with my hometown DA's office, and
hopefully gaining lots of courtroom experience.
What interested you in law and public service? I
loved graduate school, but realized the ivory tower wasn't for
me. I worked as an editor at Lexis while I was looking around
for a new career, and realized I really enjoyed reading the judicial
opinions I was editing and understanding the legal reasoning
involved, so I decided to try law school. I knew I would go into
public service—I believe all attorneys have a responsibility
to contribute to the public good, plus, public service careers
offer young lawyers more responsibility and challenges than a
Favorite public-service oriented class? There
have been a lot, but I really enjoyed my International Criminal
Law seminar this spring. Not only did we cover lots of interesting
practical and policy issues, but the instructor, an attorney
at DOJ, made a point of encouraging students to consider public
Best experience in public service? My internship
at the U.S. Attorney's. The work was interesting, and I felt
that I was able to make a real contribution. Instead of research
memos, I was able to write motions and briefs that went directly
to the judge and helped determine the outcome of a case or a
defendant's sentence. Plus, I enjoyed working with federal law
enforcement agents to put a case together. I worked with ATF,
FBI, DEA, Border Patrol, state and tribal police—even a
U.S. Postal Inspector. It definitely confirmed that I want to
work as a prosecutor.
Any special plans for your award? Not unless
bar review classes are special.