Hannah Alexander: 2016 Best and Brightest
The University of Texas School of Law
Hometown (City and State): Coppell, Texas
Undergraduate School (Also include schools where you may hold a Master’s or Ph.D.): Austin College in Sherman, Texas
Undergraduate Major and Minor: Spanish and Political Science double major and Philosophy minor
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During Law School:
—Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights, Editor in Chief, 2015–2016; Articles Editor, 2014–2015; Member, spring semester 2014
—Public Interest Law Association: President, 2015–2016; Vice-President, 2014–2015; Member, 2013–2014
—American Constitution Society: Vice-President of Membership 2014–2015; Vice-President of External Affairs; Next Generation Leader Class of 2014; Member 2013–2014
—Change It Up! Planning Committee (a group of students and faculty that plan events to encourage students to become attorneys for social change): Member, 2014–2015; Chair, 2015–2016
—Pro Bono in January Planning Committee (annual week-long pro bono trip to the Rio Grande Valley on the Texas–Mexico border): Member, 2014–2016
Where have you interned during law school?
—Texas Civil Rights Project, Austin, Texas (summer 2014)
—Immigration Clinic (fall semester 2014)
—Capitol Office of State Representative Eric Johnson, Austin, Texas (spring semester 2015)
—Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), San Antonio, Texas (summer 2015)
—Transnational Workers Right Clinic at the Equal Justice Center (fall semester 2015 and spring semester 2016)
—Civil Rights Clinic (spring semester 2016)
What practice area will you be specializing in after graduation? I will be specializing in immigrants’ rights, civil rights, and employment law.
Why did you choose to attend law school? My interest in becoming an attorney began the summer before my senior year of high school when immigration authorities arrested my friend and his parents. Their attorney had missed a filing deadline, causing them to be without legal status. My best friend and I started a campaign to bring awareness to this situation, which would hopefully cause officials to grant this family leniency. Fortunately, our efforts were successful and the family is still in the United States today. While experience showed me that I have the power to create social change and that this power would be magnified if I were an attorney.
What was your favorite law school class? My favorite law school class was Election Law and Policy because the right to vote and right to be represented are so fundamental and affect other rights and policies.
Which attorney do you most admire? I most admire Nina Perales, MALDEF’s Vice-President of Litigation, because she is a national expert on redistricting, a successful Supreme Court litigator, and very tough – but also warm and funny.
What have you enjoyed most about law school? I’ve most enjoyed my participation in internships and clinics.
What word best describes your professional brand? The word that best describes my professional brand is mobilizer. Once I recognize a problem or need, I am able to recruit people and resources to resolve the situation.
If you were debt free, how would you spend your first paycheck after landing your first law job? It’s not very exciting but, I’d probably have a nice dinner and use the rest of the paycheck to pay bills, add to my savings, and make a donation to my favorite nonprofit.
“I knew I wanted to go to law school when…I was about to start the 12th grade.
“If I didn’t go to law school, I would be…either pursuing a PhD in a humanities discipline or doing policy work for a non-profit.”
Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of helping Texas State Representative Eric Johnson pass House Bill 1036, which created a statewide reporting system for officer-involved shootings.
Fun fact about yourself: I took ballet classes for fourteen years.
Favorite book: East of Eden
Favorite movie: Little Miss Sunshine
What are your hobbies? I enjoy hiking, going to concerts, eating, traveling, reading, and dancing.