New Notre Dame Fellows Win Awards to Aid Immigrant Women Facing Violence and Ex-Convicts Seeking Work
The Law School’s first Notre Dame Fellows, Jessica L. Howton of Friendswood, Texas, and Brian M .Murray of Annapolis, Maryland, accepted their awards April 25.
Funded entirely by the law school’s Annual Fund benefactors, the Fellows program is designed to help launch long-term public service careers for NDLS graduates who have the potential to make a difference in their communities. Each year, two graduating students will be chosen as Fellows so that they may address an unmet legal need through innovation and the assistance of a host agency.
The Fellows are supported by the program while they work for two years in a qualifying non-profit organization that provides direct legal services to low-income or other under-represented populations, or by engaging in legal advocacy on important issues of public policy.
Howton will be working with the Tahirih Justice Center in Houston, Texas, to provide direct and mentored legal representation to immigrant women facing gender-based violence. In addition, she will be developing new pro bono materials and educational outreach programs for local communities and law enforcement.
“The Notre Dame Fellowship program is a phenomenal idea,” Howton said, “and it illustrates the law school’s commitment to public service. I am honored to be a part of it while working with an amazing organization to advocate for women and girls from all over the world.”
Murray will be serving as an attorney in the employment unit of Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. In this position he will be helping rehabilitated people with criminal records overcome barriers to employment. He will advocate with employers, tackle unlawful discrimination, and help people apply for pardons and expungements.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve a low-income population in inner-city Philadelphia while representing Notre Dame Law School as a Notre Dame Fellow,” Murray said. “I look forward to assisting
individuals in need of legal services and demonstrating how Notre Dame Law School cultivates a culture of service and giving back to one’s community.”
The Fellowship award process is highly competitive and requires applicants to develop and propose a two-year public interest program to be implemented with a host agency and a willing supervising attorney. Under the program, the Law School will fund the Fellows’ salaries and employer provided health and other benefits for both years.