Crystal Shin, a 2010 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law with experience in child advocacy and special education law, will be the new director of the Program in Law and Public Service, starting July 1.
Shin joins UVA from William and Mary Law School, where she served as an assistant professor and director of the Special Education Advocacy Clinic.
“I am excited to mentor and teach law students who are passionate about pursuing public interest careers,” she said. “I am also excited about the opportunity to work alongside and be mentored by my former professors.”
Dean Risa Goluboff said Shin will make a valuable addition as leader of the program.
"An experienced teacher and committed public interest lawyer, Crystal will bring new energy and ambition to the program as it matures into its second decade," Goluboff said. "Crystal is ideally situated to launch the Law School's next generation of public interest lawyers."
In welcoming Shin to the position, the dean also applauded Coughlin and Bowers for making the program an exceptional one to inherit.
"In just eight years, the Program in Law and Public Service has gained a national reputation as unique and transformative," she said.
Created in 2009, the program, which admits up to 25 applicants each year, prepares students for highly competitive jobs in prosecution, public defense, government, legal aid, international human rights and at nonprofit organizations. The program offers students access to special courses, summer funding for jobs and a faculty mentor. Loan forgiveness is available for graduates in qualifying jobs. The program is complemented by the Law School's Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center and the student-run Public Interest Law Association.
In addition to directing the program, Shin will teach a juvenile justice seminar this fall.
As a clinic director at William and Mary, Shin oversaw student representation of juvenile clients with disabilities and their families.
A 2017 co-recipient of the Virginia State Bar's Young Lawyer of the Year Award, Shin is also co-chair of the bar's Children and the Law Commission.
From 2010 to 2014, Shin served as an adjunct lecturer at UVA Law and supervised students who represented clients through the Child Advocacy Clinic.
As UVA Law's 2010 Powell Fellow, Shin represented indigent children and families on special education, school discipline, juvenile justice and immigration cases while working as an attorney with the JustChildren Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center.
While a law student, Shin was a summer clerk for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where she represented indigent, court-involved youth on special education and juvenile justice matters. She also volunteered with the McGuireWoods Child Advocacy Project, where she helped draft a brief in support of a young client's early release from juvenile prison, as well as a complaint protesting a school board suspension. She served on the board of the Public Interest Law Association for two years and was a journal editor.
Before she attended law school, Shin taught fourth-graders for three years in a low-income, rural school district in North Carolina, through Teach For America. Shin credited her students for being her inspiration to attend law school.
"This will be a homecoming for me," Shin said. "I am excited to return to my alma mater to help grow the Program in Law and Public Service, and to become immersed in the Charlottesville community again."
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.