The Columns

Courtney Hauck: Creating Opportunities for Pre-Law Students Courtney Hauck helped organize the Public Interest Law Careers panel (Feb. 28), which she hopes will allow people to take a closer look at public interest law as it relates to a variety of nontraditional legal fields.

— by on February 15th, 2017

“As a pre-law student interested in global environmental health, I wanted to create an opportunity for public service-minded students to learn more about what a law degree could help them achieve.”

Courtney Hauck

Courtney Hauck ’18 is a pre-law student and founder of the Roosevelt Institute at W&L. She has helped to organize a panel for other students with an interest in law. The Public Interest Law Career panel will take place from 7:15-8:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 in Stackhouse Theater. Panelists include Prof. David Bruck, Death Row Defense, Virginia Capital Case Clearing House, W&L Law; Gail Deady ’11L, Women’s Rights, Reproductive Rights & Gender Equality, ACLU of Virginia; Prof. Margaret Hu, Civil Rights, Immigration & Cybersecurity, W&L Law; Prof. J.D. King, Public Defense, W&L Law Criminal Justice Clinic; Elaine Poon, Civil Rights & Poverty Law, Legal Aid Justice Center; and Prof. Julie Youngman, Environmental Law, Southern Environmental Law Center, W&L.

Please visit LexLink Event ID 459 to learn more and RSVP for the event. And to learn more about Courtney, keep reading.

What is the Roosevelt Institute? When and how did it get started at W&L?

Roosevelt Institute is a non-partisan think tank founded in the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. W&L’s chapter is one among a national network housed under this think tank. Across the country, more than 100 campuses have established Roosevelt Institute chapters to “reimagine the rules,” a phrase that captures Roosevelt’s mission to inspire young people to rethink the systemic policies and practices that influence socioeconomic and political realities in the United States. I founded W&L’s chapter during fall of my sophomore year, after meeting current and former chapter heads from different universities at a “Young People For” fellowship training in Cleveland, Ohio.

What are some of the institute’s best accomplishments so far?

I have been very proud to see Roosevelt Institute grow at a fast pace over the past year and a half. We have increased from about 20 members last fall to over 70 this semester, and more importantly, our members have brought many diverse perspectives and ideas to the table. Our chapter submitted policy proposals to the 10 Ideas national policy competition last semester, including one that I wrote to establish a national pool of funds dedicated to corroded pipeline replacement in cities like Flint, Michigan. In addition, we have partnered with the Public Interest Law Students Association to create a “Know Your Rights” series on immigration, police interactions, and protests and demonstrations, which will take place over three consecutive Thursdays starting March 16. Public Interest Law Careers, which takes place in Stackhouse on Tuesday, February 28th (after Washington Break), is our first public event. I am very excited to see our chapter grow throughout the semester.

What gave you the idea to put together the Public Interest Law Careers panel?

As a pre-law student interested in global environmental health, I wanted to create an opportunity for public service-minded students to learn more about what a law degree could help them achieve. Of course, being a lawyer isn’t the only way to serve one’s community, but as we have seen through recent actions by the ACLU and other organizations, lawyers play an integral role in protecting civil liberties in the United States. I hope that this panel will allow people to take a closer look at public interest law as it relates to a variety of nontraditional legal fields.

How did you decide who to invite to speak on the panel?

It was very difficult to decide — we have many accomplished public interest lawyers in our community. To begin, I reached out to a few lawyers in our community with whose work I was more familiar. From there, I took suggestions regarding faculty and alumni from the law school who might be interested. Overall, my goal was to gather a group of accomplished, service-minded individuals in a variety of major legal disciplines — in that, I have succeeded. Among the incredible, generous people in and around our community, and I am excited to hear from just a few of these individuals on the 28th.

What were the greatest challenges to getting this event planned and scheduled?

Honestly, the greatest challenge was narrowing down choices for the panel! Our panelists have been very gracious to volunteer time out of their busy schedules, and the W&L staff and faculty have been extremely helpful in organizing the logistics for this event. In particular, Lorri Olán in Career Development has been a fantastic help with arranging communications, marketing, and catering for the panel and reception.

What can students expect to get out of this panel?

I expect that students will gain a lot from this event, including insight into the why and how of pursuing public interest law; advice from successful lawyers in fields such as public defense, environmental law, immigration, and gender equality/LGBT rights; and opportunities to build relationships with like-minded members of the W&L community, including students, staff, and faculty from the College and Law School.

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