Class of 2018 LPS Fellows

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.

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.

TONY BELTON

Tony Belton is a second year law school student from Bowie, Maryland.  He graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.  This past summer Tony interned at the  Queens District Attorney’s Office in New York City.  Tony enjoys stock car racing, shooting sports, and hiking. Interests: Federal Law Enforcement.

MAGGIE BIRKEL

Maggie Birkel is a second year law student from Washington, D.C..  She graduated from Northwestern University in 2012. Prior to law school, Maggie worked as the Director of Operations at Eden House, a New Orleans residential recovery facility for women leaving sex work and sex trafficking. Last summer she worked at the Orleans Public Defenders office. Interests: Public Defense; Restorative Justice; Prisoners’ Rights; Women’s Rights; Criminal Justice Reform; Mental Health Law; Addiction.

GEORGE CAROTENUTO

George Carotenuto is a second-year law student from New Jersey. He graduated from Duke University in 2013 with a degree in Economics and Education. After 1L, he interned at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey and hopes to pursue a career as a federal prosecutor. George is a member of the Virginia Law Review and the Virginia Innocence Project Clinic. He enjoys tennis, cooking, ACC basketball, and stand-up comedy, and aspires to one day complete a Saturday New York Times Crossword. Interests: Prosecution; Government (Agency).

JENNIFER DAVIDSON

Jennifer is a 2L from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2015 with a bachelor’s in Government and Women’s and Gender Studies. Jennifer spent last summer interning at the Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, reading and going to museums. Interests: Women’s Rights; Civil Rights; Human Rights; Government; Animal Law.

JIM DENNISON

Jim is a 2L from Logan, Utah. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2013 with a degree in philosophy. He has done pro bono with Western Resource Advocates in Salt Lake City, Utah and spent the summer of 2016 working for the Southern Environmental Law Center in Birmingham, Alabama. In his spare time, he likes to climb rocks, ride his bike, and cook on the grill. Interests: Environmental Law.

TESS FARDON

Tess majored in psychology at Vassar College where she was a crisis advocate for a peer counseling hotline specializing in issues of interpersonal violence. Seeing how victims of this violence were treated in our legal system (mainly through witnessing Title IX hearings in-school and hearing about domestic violence proceedings in court) triggered her applying to law school. Tess took a gap year before coming to Virginia where she worked at the Legal Aid Society and in general counsel at Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services. At school, Tess participates in the Hunton Williams Pro Bono program where she shadows an attorney who does a lot of work with domestic violence victims; the VA Legislative Committee on Mental Health where she helps with housing recommendations to keep mentally ill individuals out of the prison pipeline; and the Domestic Violence Project. This summer, Tess worked at the DOJ’s Organized Crime and Gang Section. Interests: Civil Rights (particularly gender based); Government Policy; Children’s Welfare.

LAUREN HOWES

Lauren Howes is a second-year student from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Stevenson University in 2014 with a B.S. in Paralegal Studies and a minor in Criminal Justice. She worked as a family law paralegal in Baltimore before coming to UVA, and spent her 1L summer working at the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. Interests: Prosecution; Criminal Law.

MAYA IYYANI

Maya Iyyani is a second-year law student. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2015 (Go Gators). Last summer she interned at Bay Area Legal Aid in the Housing Unit, working on eviction defense and subsidy preservation. In her spare time Maya enjoys Indian dancing, reading, and watching shows on Netflix. Interests: Civil Legal Aid; Economic Justice; Racial Justice; Housing.

KEISHA JAMES

Keisha James is a 2L from Tampa, Florida. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2014 with bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and International Studies. Prior to law school, Keisha worked for a non-profit as a court advocate for victims of domestic violence. During her 1L summer, she interned at the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria. Keisha enjoys binge-watching critically-acclaimed television shows, wearing bold prints, and watching live comedy.   Interests: Criminal Defense; Public Defense.

MEGAN KEENAN

Megan Keenan is a second-year fellow from Ohio, where she studied Political Science, Globalization Studies, and History at The Ohio State University. (Any eye rolling at my “The” is supposed to trigger a dancing Serena Williams hologram from Beyoncé’s “Sorry,” so let me know if that function’s working.) Before her summer with the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section of the Department of Justice, Megan worked at Court Appointed Special Advocates, EarthRights International, and a local prosecutor’s office. Megan is on the student boards of both LPS and PILA, and in her free time, she’s a big fan of Café Caturra and coupling running with excessive amounts of gummy worms. Interests: Civil Rights; Human Rights; Public International Law; Racial Justice; Government.

JOANNA KELLY

Joanna Kelly is a second-year law student from Wilmington, Delaware. She graduated from Columbia University with a major in Middle Eastern Studies. After graduation, she worked in Cairo, Egypt at the American University in Cairo and tutored English to Syrian and Sudanese refugees in her free time. Last summer, she worked at the Office of Foreign Litigation at the Department of Justice. Joanna enjoys playing basketball and exploring Charlottesville’s culinary scene in her free time. Interests: Government; Civil Rights Law; Poverty Law; International Human Rights Law.

NICOLE LAWLER

Nicole is a member of the Class of 2018 from Orefield, Pennsylvania. She graduated from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA, in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Political Science, Theology, and Economics. This past summer Nicole worked in New Delhi, India at the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre, an NGO focused on human rights violations and the rule of law in India. Previously, Nicole has also interned at the Defenders Association of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project in Philadelphia. Nicole enjoys playing softball and traveling in her spare time. Interests: International Law; Human Rights; Rule of Law; Prison Litigation.

JENNIFER LEE

Jennifer is a second-year law student. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2012. Jennifer taught fourth grade as a Teach For America corps member in Charlotte for three years prior to law school. Last summer, she worked as a legal intern at Children’s Rights in New York. Jennifer enjoys meeting new people and exploring new places to eat. Interests: Child Advocacy; Juvenile Justice; Education Law.

RYAN LEONARD

Ryan is a 2L from Delaware, home of Joe Biden and tax-free shopping. He graduated from the University of Delaware with degrees in political science and history, focusing primarily on the MENA region. After law school, Ryan plans to go into white-collar prosecution. In his spare time, Ryan helps coach Virginia’s undergraduate mock trial team and watches the Philadelphia 76ers lose games.  Interests: White-Collar Prosecution.

EMILY MORDECAI

Emily hails from Virginia Beach, VA and is a 2L here at UVA Law. She is most interested in criminal law and justice reform issues, but enjoys studying a wide variety of do-gooder law including civil rights and policy issues. During her undergrad, she interned over the summers for two different public defender’s offices. Emily spent her 1L summer at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. If you can’t find her in Arthur J. Morris Library, you can find her cheering on the best basketball team in the nation (or world, really) in John Paul Jones Arena. Interests: Criminal Law.

CASSONDRA (CJ) MURPHY

Cassondra (Cj) Murphy is a 2L from Syracuse, New York.  She attended American University, majoring in CLEG—communications, legal studies, economics and government.  After graduation, Cj plans to return to Washington, D.C. to work in the federal government or for a non-profit. Interests: Intersection of Law and Policy; Human Trafficking; Sexual Assault; Child Exploitation.

JENNIFER POPP

Jennifer Popp is a second year law student from San Diego, CA.  She graduated from Brown University in 2012. After college, Jennifer taught 9th and 10th grade English for two years as a Teach For America Corps Member in New Orleans, LA and worked for one year at an education technology startup in Cambridge, MA. Jennifer enjoys taking advantage of all the outdoor activities Charlottesville has to offer. Interests: Juvenile and Education Rights; Public Defense; Racial and Socioeconomic Justice.

LOUISA RICH

Louisa attended Colorado College and graduated with a major in Sociology in 2018. She came straight to law school after graduation and volunteered at a youth homeless shelter the summer before law school. During her 1L summer Louisa worked for the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, with both the JustChildren and Civil Advocacy programs. Louisa loves dogs, documentaries, and hiking (but so does everyone who lives near the Shenandoah mountains). She is semi-related to the man who invented moose tracks (the ice cream flavor).  Interests: Legal Aid; Public Defense.

CORY SAGDUYU

Cory Sagduyu is a 2L originally from Kansas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas and interned with the Innocence Project, the Dallas County Public Defender’s Office, and at the White House in the Office of National Economic Council. She also spent a summer in Nicaragua, teaching classes about domestic violence and human rights. Cory split her 1L summer, interning both at Ayuda and for the Hon. Emmet G. Sullivan at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, and traveling internationally.  Interests: Immigration; Domestic Violence; Criminal Law; International Human Rights.

AVIVA SCHAFFER

Aviva Schaffer is a second-year law student. After studying International Relations and Arabic at the University of Rochester, she spent a year working in Washington, DC. She has interned for the Immigration Program at the Legal Aid Society of Rochester and for the Arlington Immigration Court. She hopes to practice immigration law in the future. Interests: Immigration; Human Rights.

RYAN SNOW

Ryan Snow was born and raised in Stanford, CA, graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in 2005, and worked as a professional trombonist based in Brooklyn, NY from 2005 to 2014. While touring the country with a soul-rock band (Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds), Ryan’s political passions were activated by a series of Supreme Court decisions enshrining money as protected speech while allowing states to severely burden the right to vote. He decided that he had to devote the rest of his life working for democracy and social justice. Ryan went to work as a field organizer in New Hampshire for the 2014 midterm election, and then applied to law school. Ryan is very excited to be a student at UVA Law. During the summer of 2016, Ryan interned at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, DC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan campaign finance and voting rights watchdog and litigation group. In January of 2016, Ryan interned at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York, NY. Interests: Election Law; Civil Rights; Civil Liberties; Climate Law; Government; Legislation and Public Policy.