UCI Law alums secure most Gideon’s Promise fellowships


The nonprofit’s Law School Partnership Program includes three UCI Law Class of 2016 alums, the most of any law school nationwide

IRVINE, Calif. (September 7, 2016) - Three UC Irvine School of Law Class of 2016 alums are participating in the Gideon’s Promise Law School Partnership Program (LSPP) this year, the most of any law school in the nation.

Gideon’s Promise is a nonprofit that seeks to inspire and train legal professionals to provide the highest quality defense representation to the indigent. As part of the LSPP, UCI Law will fund the trio’s fellowship for up to one year, after which Gideon’s Promise will secure the graduates a full-time position at a public defender’s office.

A total of 16 recent law school graduates from 11 universities nationwide participated in this year’s LSPP. Combined they will work in nine partner offices across six states.

“Gideon’s Promise is a terrific program to launch law graduates in a career in criminal defense work,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UCI Law. “I am delighted that UCI Law has the largest number of graduates of any law school in the country participating in Gideon’s Promise this year.”

The three UCI Law alums are Aaron Adams, Leigh Dickey and Elizabeth Tissot.

Aaron Adams Aaron Adams
A California native, Aaron will work in Lafayette, La. as part of the 15th Judicial District Public Defender’s office. “UCI Law prepared us for this career by emphasizing public interest work and getting students out and involved in pro bono work,” Adams said. “Without this program, there is no way I could have come and taken the Louisiana Bar and done everything I did, and now we are getting graduates from UCI Law in parts of the country we’ve never been before.”
Leigh Dickey Leigh Dickey
Leigh will work in her hometown of Memphis, Tenn. in the Shelby County Public Defender’s office. “One of the reasons I picked UCI Law was because of its emphasis on experiential learning, pro bono and public interest work,” Dickey said. “Gideon’s Promise shares that same emphasis on client-centered lawyering and public service, and is a natural progression from my time at UCI Law.”
Elizabeth Tissot Elizabeth Tissot
Elizabeth will work in Birmingham, Ala. in the Jefferson County Community Law Office. “I always wanted to fight for the underdog but took for granted that I’d do so in a big, well-resourced city. That made me question my dedication,” Tissot said. “The instructors at Gideon’s Promise wanted to instill in us lessons in empathy and client service. Aaron, Leigh and I were happy to share that we already experienced those lessons at UCI Law.”

"We look for participants who are interested in working in under-resourced public defender offices and in working with indigent clients,” said Afton Mallard, programs coordinator for Gideon’s Promise. “What stood out among the UCI alums was their eagerness to remove themselves from the West Coast and go into the trenches of the South.”

For more information, please visit Gideon’s Promise.

About UC Irvine School of Law

Ranked No. 4 overall in the National Jurist 2016 list of Best Schools for Practical Training, and No. 2, behind Yale, for the ratio of clinic positions, UCI Law is a visionary law school focused on training talented and passionate lawyers and driven by professional excellence, intellectual rigor, and a commitment to enrich our communities through public service. UCI Law is a collegial environment, and our faculty comprises accomplished, nationally ranked thought leaders from around the country with a broad range of expertise. In the 2015 study by University of St. Thomas School of Law, the UCI Law faculty ranked No. 6 in the nation in scholarly impact. More about the Law School is available at law.uci.edu.

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