Students in the Law and Public Service Program have wide-ranging interests and experiences. Their trajectories before, during, and after law school differ. Feel free to reach out to specific Fellows if you have questions about their experience in the Program.
Daniel is a 3L from Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from George Mason University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. During his 1L summer, Daniel worked for the General Counsel at Apex Clean Energy, a wind energy company in Charlottesville. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys playing piano and beach volleyball. Interests: Government; Environmental/Land Use Law.
Before law school, Stephanie did investigative work for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center. During her 1L summer, she worked as a legal intern at the San Francisco Public Defender. During Stephanie’s 2L summer, she worked as a certified intern at the Arapahoe County office of the Colorado State Public Defender. Through that internship, she went to trial in several misdemeanor cases and handled a separate court docket caseload. While at UVA Law, Stephanie has done research on forensic science and volunteered for several public defense-related pro bono projects including the No Exceptions Prison Collective, the Virginia Innocence Project and the Bronx Defender Alternative Spring Break. Stephanie was also the Director for the National Lawyers Guild. Interests: Public Defense.
Dan is a Hardy Cross Dillard Scholar at the University of Virginia School of Law. Through regulatory and litigation practice, he plans to work with public and private sector entities to promote the creation of sound consumer finance policies, and efficient compliance. He has worked with the Legal Aid Justice Center, Catholic Charities, the Office of the Attorney General, K&L Gates, and the Senate Banking Committee on housing, consumer finance, and consumer protection issues. Interests: Consumer Finance; Homelessness and Housing; Poverty and Economic Development.
Lizzie is a 3L originally from the United Kingdom and who grew up in Massachusetts. She graduated from Haverford College and worked at a middle school in Boston prior to law school. During her 1L summer, Lizzie worked in the Fraud Section, Criminal Division at the Department of Justice. Currently, Lizzie is participating in the law school’s Prosecution Clinic. After graduation, she will clerk on the Sixth Circuit. When not studying, Lizzie is exploring Charlottesville one eatery at a time. Interests: Government; Criminal Law.
Jasmine Esmailbegui is a third-year law student at the University of Virginia. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2014 with degrees in Psychology and Criminology and a minor in Women’s Studies. She has worked for both Southern Legal Counsel in Gainesville, FL and Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, VA to help provide, and expand access to, civil legal services. Interests: Civil Legal Services.
Ryan Pavel is a 3L and is originally from a Chicago suburb. Ryan served in the Marine Corps and taught high school in Detroit prior to law school. These days, you can likely find Ryan wailin’ on bass as part of the law school cover band, Jefferson Clerkship. Ryan plans on working at Winston & Strawn in Chicago upon graduation. Interests: Government; Legal Aid.
Julia Schast is a 3L who grew up outside of Philadelphia, attended Elon University for undergrad, and has her sights set on starting her career as a prosecutor at the District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan after spending a year clerking for Judge Robert A. Salerno in the D.C. Superior Court after graduation. Interests: Criminal Prosecution; Criminal Justice Reform; Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Issues.
Rachel Ellen Simon is a third-year law student from Lexington, KY. She holds a B.A. in Theater Arts from Carleton College (Northfield, MN), and an M.A. in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University (Boone, NC). She spent her 1L summer working at Earthjustice in Philadelphia, and her 2L summer at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. After graduation, Rachel will be clerking for Judge Pamela Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Rachel has previously worked as a professional stage actress and singer, darkroom photographer, bartender, and freelance journalist. She enjoys eating cheese and reading Virginia Woolf novels to her cat, Virginia Woolf. Interests: Civil Rights; Poverty Law; Prisoners’ Rights; Environmental Justice.
Amber Strickland is a 3L from Centreville, Virginia. After spending four years experiencing life in the cornfields of Ohio for undergrad, she joined the fight to end bonded labor in India with International Justice Mission. Amber spent her first summer interning in DC with the DOJ Civil Rights – Criminal Section, and her second summer interning with the ACLU Racial Justice Program in NYC. When not reading for class, Amber can be found experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. Interests: Prosecution; Criminal Justice Reform; Civil Rights; Racial Justice.
Joshua Wade is a 3L hailing from the bustling metropolis of Winchester, VA. Josh also attended UVA for undergrad and is trying to figure out how to live in Charlottesville his whole life. During his 1L summer Josh worked at the Department of Justice, in both the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division and the Antitrust Division. During his 2L summer Josh worked at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher on a wide range of trial and appellate matters. Josh has done pro-bono work with the Legal Aid Justice Center and will work with the Western District of Virginia’s Federal Public Defender during this coming spring. Josh will extern with the Eastern District of Virginia’s Federal Public Defender during the upcoming fall semester and will work with the law school’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic throughout the year. After law school Josh will clerk for the Honorable Norman Moon on the United States District Court for Western District of Virginia and the Honorable Jerome Holmes on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Josh is currently spending his non-law school brain power thinking about the beauty of small communities and how they function in both urban and rural environments. Interests: Criminal Procedure; Public Defense; Poverty Law; Civil Rights.
James Whittaker is a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and 3L at UVA law. James Commissioned into the Army after spending four years at UC Davis as a Cadet and hopes to serve as a Judge Advocate after graduation. James spent his 1L summer interning at the Small Business Administration’s Office of General Council, Procurement division, and his 2L summer interning at Fort Belvoir, in the USALSA Contract and Fiscal Litigation Division. James enjoys playing golf, softball, basketball, and cooking for his friends after long days of exercise. Interests: Defense; Government.