Our students have conducted intake for clients, served as translators, reviewed legal documents, and argued in front of lawyers, judges, and justices. Most of all, they serve as representatives of and resources for the communities we serve.
Lukas is a Legal Eagle at Akins High School. As a student, Lukas serves as a voice for the aspiring attorneys we want to empower. In addition to his talents in courtroom competitions, Lukas is also an incredibly talented musician and an outstanding student. Lukas is always seeking opportunities to serve his classmates and his community.
Francesca is an Assistant Attorney General and an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at UT Law. Through her her philanthropic efforts, Francesca advocates for mentorship and financial support for high school students, and supports the development of aspiring attorneys as a mock trial coach. She believes that the law allows attorneys to be investigators, puzzle solvers, and advocates in a profession meant to help people!
Carlos graduated from UT Austin with degrees in Education and Law. After five years of prosecution, his transitioned to representing low-income defendants. He has handled several high-profile death penalty cases, and is a frequent presenter at continuing education programs in subjects including jury selection and false confessions. He now serves as the law teacher at Akins High School.
Ellen is the Director of the Center for Children, Law & Policy at the University of Houston Law Center. She teaches Juvenile Law, Children and the Law, Professional Responsibility, and started the Street Law Program to train law students to teach the law to high school students. The program now extends to youth in the Harris County detention center and will soon extend to all county juvenile probation programs.
Gilbert is an employment attorney and holds a law degree and master of education from the University of Wisconsin. While enrolled in law school, Gilbert served as a research assistant and teacher assistant for Special Education Law and Public-School Law. He also completed a year with AmeriCorps where he tutored and mentored students in San Antonio. He is passionate about the intersection of education equity and the law.
As an Assistant District Attorney, Randy developed an interventionist and rehabilitative philosophy while gaining valuable experience in Juvenile Justice and CPS advocacy. Now, Randy focuses his efforts as an Austin Assistant City Attorney on improving the lives of the homeless, mentally ill, and chemically dependent. Randy believes that the best type of intervention is prevention!
Maryann is a lawyer with Dell Inc., where she also administers the pro bono health law project alongside Disability Rights Texas. She has also worked with the Southern Disability Law Center, Advocacy, Inc., Texas Legal Services Center, and the Texas Civil Rights Project. Her civil rights practice focuses on legal services to children with disabilities and chronic health conditions in the areas of health and education.
Armin and the Akins Legal Eagles established the first high school legal aid clinic in the country. Students received a robust legal training while meeting the needs of the community. As a result of their success, Armin was named the 2020 Austin ISD 2020 High School Teacher of the Year and 2021 Texas Young Lawyer of the Year. The Akins program serves as the pilot and model for YJA.
Nicole is the Director of Pipeline Outreach and Development at The University of Texas School of Law. Previously, Nicole served as a Career Counselor, the Director of Public Service Programs, and the Director of Professional Development. She has served in leadership roles with Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, the Austin Black Lawyer’s Association, and the Austin Black Lawyers Foundation.
Judge Crump presides over the 250th District Court in Travis County. She is highly active in philanthropy in the Central Texas area, including her role as a mentor with the YJA program. As the Judicial Liaison, Judge Crump helps connect students with judge mentors and internships in the courts.
Eileen McGowan is a retired professor from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she also earned her Doctorate of Education in 2004. Eileen's guidance on proposal writing and narratives served as a springboard for YJA's growth. She continues to advise YJA on strategies for expansion.
Meg heads the Educational Equity Project at The University of Texas Law School, developing programs and pro bono projects to address barriers for low-income and minority students in Austin. As a YJA advisor, Meg provides guidance on effective pro bono support for YJA's direct services and large volume weekend clinics.