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Carolyn Spradley: Managing Director of Student PublicInterest Initiative at Texas Tech University School of Law,Lubbock, TX
[By Kenneth Davis]Carolyn Spradley, a third year student at Texas Tech University School of Law, decided to study law while she was employed asa caseworker for the Child Protective Services ofce in her hometown of Tyler, Texas. She started working for Child ProtectiveServices after she graduated from Texas Tech University in 2002 with a degree in public relations. Spradley said that law schoolhad been in the back of her mind for awhile, but working for Child Protective Services solidied her decision to pursue a law degree.as an attorney to help law students nd jobs.
“I would go to court for some of my cases,”she said. “And I enjoyed that aspect of it,more so than the counseling. People whodo social work might go back to school fora Master’s in Counseling or a Master’s inSocial Work. But I really wanted to go inanother direction.”Spradley started at Texas Tech UniversitySchool of Law in the fall of 2004 and gotinvolved in Student Public Interest Initiative(SPII) during the second semester of her firstyear. She said the organization needed to fillthe position of fundraising director becausesomebody had recently left the organization.Spradley applied for the position and, to hersurprise, got it.“It’s typically a second and third year board,”she said. “But they had a position open andlet me come on as a second semester lawstudent.” Spradley said she joined SPII because shewanted to become more involved in the lawschool and wanted to see more tangiblereturns for her time and effort.Last spring, she was chosen to be SPII’smanaging director. She said that she waschosen for the position because she hadbeen with the organization the longest.Spradley talked a little about theorganization:“We raise money all year long and then turnaround and give that money back, in theform of grants, to Tech law students whoare doing public interest summer work,”she said. “We also do educational programsat the law school, so students can learnmore about public interest law and what job opportunitiesthere are in it.”She added that every spring the organizationhas a talent show and auction, and all themoney from the fundraiser goes to thestudents who apply for summer grants.As Managing Director of SPII, some ofSpradley’s duties include keeping the boardorganized, securing a monthly speaker forSPII’s monthly meetings, and assisting withthe annual fundraiser. She added that shehelps solicit auction items for the fundraiser.“The auction items that we use are mainlyprofessor-donated items,” she said. “Theentire SPII board solicits auction items fromlocal businesses and professors. Professorsdonate dinners, brunches, golf games, andbarbecues. Several professors got togetherto donate a bowling party.”She said that the professor-donated itemsare designed to “enhance the student/facultyrelationship” outside of the classroom.Spradley added that the organization alsoauctions student-produced items. Oneyear, a girlfriend, who is an artist, sold herpaintings at the fundraiser’s silent auction.At last year’s fundraiser, several lawprofessors put together a reggae band andperformed for those in attendance.“It was great!” she said. “It was just so fun tosee the professors up there.”Spradley said that it is SPII’s goal to expandthe fundraiser and encourage more localbar involvement. She pointed out that theLubbock County Young Lawyers Associationwas the main sponsor for the organization’s2006 talent show/auction.She and the other board members also go tolocal businesses for donations. For instance,one year, a hotel in Amarillo donated its bedand breakfast for the auction.In the last five years, the organization hasgiven out more than $20,000 in grants,according to Spradley. She’d like to seemore law students become involved in publicinterest law.“I would definitely like to see the numbersgrow,” she said. “We had our first meetingof the year yesterday? and we had the bestturnout I’ve seen yet. I am hopeful that wewill raise more money than ever for summergrants. It seems that interest in our group issomewhat cyclical, and this incoming classseems more interested than last year’sclass.”Although she works to get more studentsinvolved in public interest law, Spradley hasdecided to go into corporate law. She said thedecision came about when she was holdinga summer clerkship in law firm Thompson &Knight’s Dallas office.