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.”
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.”
-- Jeanne Graham