Class of 2018

Our alumni share a passion for public service in the interests of justice, but are working in a wide range of legal roles and have diverse interests and experiences. Feel free to reach out to individual alumni with questions about their paths and their experience in the Program.

Amber McCoy

Amber McCoy is from Matewan, West Virginia. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in psychology. Prior to law school, she worked for a public defender and conducted psychological research. During her 1L summer, Amber interned at a federal district court. Last summer, she interned at the Attorney General’s Office in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is currently at the NCDOJ in the AG’s office. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and digital painting. Interests: Government, Poverty Law

Dre Thujis

Dre Thuijs is a UVA Law alumnus from Miramar, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) in 2015 with bachelor degrees in History and Political Science and graduated from UVA Law in 2018. During his time at UF, he worked for the school’s Student Legal Services, assisting students in almost all of their legal troubles. In his 1L summer, he interned in Miami at the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. He spent his 2L summer at Cleary Gottlieb in New York, doing litigation work as well as criminal defense pro-bono work. Dre also interned for part of his 2L summer at CAMBA, a non-profit in Brooklyn, with an emphasis on immigration-related services. He spent his 3L at the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Charlottesville and in the Criminal Defense Clinic in the Spring. In his free time, Dre enjoys playing and watching soccer and learning Dutch. Interests: Criminal Defense, Public Defense

Tony Belton

Tony Belton originally from Bowie, Maryland graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. While in law school during his 1L summer Tony interned at the Queens County District Attorney’s Office in New York City where he interviewed law enforcement officers, victims, and witnesses to compose criminal affidavits. In his 2L spring semester he completed an externship at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia where he researched ethical issues for DHS employees and audited training courses for new federal agents. For his 2L summer he interned with the Army JAG Corps in Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he rotated amongst the military justice and administrative law sections of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Tony is currently assigned to work in Seattle, Washington as a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service. Tony enjoys stock car racing, basketball, photography, and hiking.

Aviva Schaffer

After studying International Relations and Arabic at the University of Rochester, Aviva spent a year in Washington, DC before starting at UVA law. During law school, she interned/externed for the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, the Arlington Immigration Court, CAIR Coalition, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. At UVA she was a student coordinator for the Immigration Law Program. She plans to practice immigration law in Brooklyn. Interests: Immigration Law

Cassondra (Cj) Murphy

Cassondra (Cj) Murphy is a University of Virginia School of Law Robert F. Kennedy Public Service Fellow with the Human Trafficking Institute. She is a 2018 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where she served as the Assistant Managing Editor of the Virginia Law Review and a fellow in the Law and Public Service Program. After the completion of her fellowship with the Human Trafficking Institute, Cj will serve as a law clerk for the Hon. Charles P. Kocoras on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Josh Myers

Josh Myers is currently clerking for the Honorable Michelle Childs for the District of South Carolina. After his clerkship, he will join Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough LLP in Washington, DC. While in law school, he was the social chair of the Black Law Students Association and alumni co-chair with the Program in Law & Public Service. He was also the Development Editor of the Virginia Law & Business Review. During his first summer, he was a law clerk in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina. His pro bono activities included work for the S.C. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, the S.C. Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the South Carolina Office of Attorney General. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. He also has been a Fellow with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, focusing his work on federal arts policy. He enjoys cooking, running, and exploring museums. Interests: Government, Prosecution, Employment Law

Cory Sagduyu

Cory works at Ayuda as a Skadden Legal Fellow, providing comprehensive legal services for low-income immigrants who have been victims of workplace crimes or labor exploitation. She previously interned at the Justice Department’s Criminal Section working on prosecution of official misconduct, hate crimes, and human trafficking. She helped represent victims of domestic violence and human trafficking during internships at Ayuda, Human Rights First, and the Equal Justice Center. She graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law. During law school, she directed the Migrant Farmworker Project, which provides legal information to potential victims of labor trafficking or workplace exploitation.

Elyse Moy

Elyse Moy is from McLean, Virginia. She graduated from William and Mary with a degree in Linguistics and Japanese. During her 1L summer she interned at the US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. She worked at Seward & Kissel in New York her 2L summer and will return to their litigation department after graduation. In her free time she enjoys watching movies, visiting museums, and finding new coffee and tea shops. Interests: Civil Rights, Racial Justice, Language Access

Emily Mordecai

Emily hails from Virginia Beach, VA. She spent her summers during law school working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Hunton Andrews Kurth in Richmond. She currently works for Hunton in the Richmond office in the firm’s Product Liability and Mass Tort group. Emily has enjoyed being a part of a number of public interest groups at school, including the Public Interest Law Association, the Civil Rights Litigation Clinic, and the Law and Public Service Program. Through UVA Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic, she briefed and argued federal appeals on behalf of inmates and criminal defendants. Interests: Criminal Law, Government Work

George Carotenuto

George Carotenuto is 2018 UVA Law graduate 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. He spent his 2L summer in the litigation department at Davis Polk in New York. George is a Notes Editor for the Virginia Law Review and a team leader for the UVA Innocence Project. He will be clerking for the Honorable Madeline Cox Arleo in the District of New Jersey after graduation, followed by a clerkship with Judge Patty Shwartz on the Third Circuit. Interests: Government (agency work); Prosecution; Innocence/wrongful Convictions Litigation

Jim Dennison

Jim graduated frlm UVA Law in 2018. He grew up in Logan, Utah and studied philosophy at the University of North Carolina. He has done pro bono with Western Resource Advocates in Salt Lake City, Utah, spent the summer of 2016 working for the Southern Environmental Law Center in Birmingham, Alabama, and spent the summer of 2017 working for the Environmental Defense Fund in Boulder, Colorado. In his spare time, he likes to climb rocks, ride his bike, and cook veggies on the grill. He is happy to speak with current or prospective students interested in environmental law, especially nonprofit work. Interests: Environmental Law

Jennifer Davidson

Jennifer Davidson graduated from UVA Law in 2018 and from Dartmouth College in 2015, where she earned a degree in Government and Women’s and Gender Studies. Jennifer spent her 1L summer working at the Department of Justice, International Affairs, and her 2L summer at Altshuler Berzon, a San Francisco-based public interest firm specializing in union-side and civil rights cases. She participated in the Housing and Litigation Clinic her 2L year, and is part of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic her 3L year. Currently, Jennifer is clerking for Judge Costa on the 5th Circuit then will clerk for Judge Beetlestone in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, reading, and going to museums. Interests: Women’s Rights, Civil Rights, Labor & Employment

Jennifer Lee

Jennifer Lee is a 2018 graduate of UVA Law. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2012. Prior to law school, Jennifer taught fourth grade as a Teach For America corps member in Charlotte. She previously interned at Children’s Rights in New York, working on impact litigation aimed at reforming child welfare systems. During law school, Jennifer participated in the Child Advocacy Clinic and was on the student boards for the Program in Law and Public Service and Child Advocacy Research and Education.

Jeni Popp

Jeni Popp is from San Diego, CA. She graduated from Brown University in 2012. After college, Jeni taught 9th and 10th grade English for two years as a Teach For America corps member in New Orleans, LA, followed by a stint at an education technology startup in Cambridge, MA. While in law school, Jeni has interned at the Orleans Public Defenders, the Bronx Defenders, and the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties; participated in the Immigration Law and Civil Rights Litigation Clinics; and been on the boards of the National Lawyers Guild and Child Advocacy, Research, and Education. After graduation, Jeni will clerk for the Honorable Carl E. Stewart on the Fifth Circuit. Interests: Civil Rights (particularly those related to Education, Police Practices, and Immigration), Racial & Socioeconomic Justice

Jeremy Bennie

Jeremy Bennie works at The Bronx Defenders in their Criminal Defense Practice. During law school, Jeremy worked with the Charlottesville-Albemarle Office of the Public Defender, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. In his third year, he and Maya Iyyani were Co-Presidents of the Program in Law and Public Service. Jeremy loves running, dogs, vegetarian cooking, learning about radical ideas, and exploring national parks.

Joanna Kelly

Joanna Kelly is the Dorot Fellow at the Alliance for Justice. In her capacity as a fellow, she works exclusively on monitoring the federal judiciary. For any vacancy in the Supreme Court, circuit courts, or district courts, she thoroughly researches nominees’ backgrounds and publications to ensure they are highly-qualified and prepared to safeguard the guarantees of the Constitution. Originally from Delaware, she graduated from Columbia University in 2014 with a major in Middle Eastern Studies. After graduation, she worked in Cairo, Egypt at the American University. She especially enjoyed visiting family in the region and tutoring English to Syrian and Sudanese refugees in her free time. During her time at UVA law, she worked at the Legal Aid Justice Center as part of the Litigation and Housing Clinic and the Civil Rights Litigation Pro Bono Clinic and she advocated on behalf of indigent criminal defendants in the Criminal Defense Clinic. She also interned at the Office of Foreign Litigation at the Department of Justice and the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. After completion of her fellowship at the Alliance for Justice, she will clerk for Judge Kearney in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Judge Jordan of the Third Circuit. Interests: Racial Justice, Education Law, Criminal Justice Reform, Housing Law, Civil Rights Law, Poverty Law, International Human Rights Law

Keisha James

Keisha James is 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 Law, Public Defense, International Law, Human Rights

Lauren Howes

Lauren is a 2018 graduate of UVA Law, and is originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Stevenson University in 2014 with a degree in Paralegal Studies and a minor in Criminal Justice. Before coming to law school, she worked as a paralegal in Baltimore, Maryland. During her time at UVA, she worked at both the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and at Pepper Hamilton’s Philadelphia office. Lauren is currently an officer in the Navy JAG Corps.

Louisa Rich

Louisa is a Kennedy fellow at the Legal Aid Justice Center Richmond’s office. She works in their JustChildren unit, where she represents children on education, juvenile justice, and public benefits matters with an eye towards systemic change. Her interest continues to be civil legal services for those who cannot afford representation.

Maggie Birkel

Maggie Birkel is 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. Her 1L summer she worked at the Orleans Public Defenders office and her 2L summer she worked in the Brighton Regional Office of the Colorado State Public Defenders. At UVA she was involved in the Virginia Law in Prison Project, the Virginia Innocence Project, and the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law. She is currently a George Kaiser Family Foundation Women’s Justice Fellow at Still She Rises in Tulsa, OK. Still She Rises is the first public defender office in the country dedicated exclusively to the representation of mothers in the criminal justice system. Interests: Public Defense, Restorative Justice, Prisoners’ Rights, Women’s Rights, Criminal Justice Reform, Mental Health Law

Maya Iyyani

Maya Iyyani graduated from the University of Florida in 2015. She spent her 1L summer as a law clerk at Bay Area Legal Aid, working on eviction defense and subsidy preservation. During her 2L summer she worked at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant predominantly on Affirmative Asylum cases. After graduation she returned to Bay Area Legal Aid as a Powell Fellow in Legal Services. Interests: Civil Legal Aid, Economic Justice, Racial Justice, Housing, Immigration

Megan Keenan

Megan Keenan is from Ohio, where she graduated from The Ohio State University in 2015 and recently returned to clerk for Chief Judge R. Guy Cole on the Sixth Circuit from 2018–19.  During law school, Megan worked in the Human Rights & Special Prosecutions Section of the Department of Justice and the Office of the Legal Advisor at the State Department, and she spent a month in Lusaka, Zambia working with Undikumbukire Project on juvenile justice reform.  Megan served as president of the Public Interest Law Association and Common Law Grounds at Virginia Law, and she was a member of the Appellate Clinic and LAJC’s Civil Rights & Racial Justice Pro Bono Clinic.  In her free time, she’s a big fan of coupling running with excessive amounts of gummy worms.  Interests: Public International Law, Civil & Human Rights, Racial Justice, Criminal Justice Reform

Nicole Lawler

Nicole Lawler graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in May of 2018. She graduated from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA, in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Political Science, Theology, and Economics. After her first year of law school Nicole worked at the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre in New Delhi, India. For her 2L summer, Nicole was a summer associate at Richards, Layton, & Finger in Wilmington, Delaware. Previously, Nicole has interned at the Defenders Association of Philadelphia, the Office of the Governor – John Carney, State of Delaware, the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project in Philadelphia, the Delaware Community Legal Aid Society.

Ryan Leonard

Ryan is 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

Ryan Snow

Ryan Snow ’18 is a civil rights litigator and advocate focused on voting rights, redistricting, and campaign finance reform. Born and raised in Stanford, California, Ryan graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in Ohio in 2005 with degrees in Politics and Jazz Studies. He then worked as a professional trombonist, improvisor, composer, and teacher based in Brooklyn, New York from 2005 to 2014. Over several years touring the country with soul-rock band Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Ryan was activated by a series of Supreme Court decisions enshrining money as protected speech while allowing severe burdens on the right to vote, and decided he had a moral duty to spend his life working in service of democracy and toward a society that works for all. While at UVA Law, Ryan interned at the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Voting Section during summer of 2017; for Represent.Us in January of 2017; at the Campaign Legal Center during summer of 2016; and at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in January of 2016. Ryan is currently working as a Voting Rights Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, DC, supported by UVA Law’s Robert F. Kennedy ’51 Public Service Fellowship.

Shanthi Rajagopalan

Shanthi is a member of the UVA Law Class of 2018. Shanthi is currently working at the Contra Costa County district attorney’s office in California.

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. Once at UVA, her interest in criminal justice — especially in racial justice — grew. She spent her 1L summer exploring criminal justice from the government side at the DOJ’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, and spent her 2L summer at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in their Criminal Justice Project. Interests: Civil Rights, Policy, Education Law, Criminal & Racial Justice