INTRODUCING THE FIRST LEGAL AID HUMAN RIGHTS COORDINATORS
The Local Human Rights Lawyering Project Partner benefits included funding for each organization to hire a human rights coordinator, who served as the “point person” and promoted the use of human rights within the leagl aid partner organization. The coordinator’s responsibilities included:
- Provided substantive knowledge and expertise linking international human rights law and the human rights framework with the work and issue-areas of the Project Partner;
- Worked closely with the organization’s leadership and staff to fully integrating human rights methodologies into every aspect of their work;
- Worked alongside staff attorneys on select cases when drawing on international human rights law strengthens the case;
- Participated in, helping to lead and design in-house trainings on human rights for staff members;
- Worked with staff to develop community outreach materials which incorporate fundamental human rights;
- Worked closely the other Project Partner’s human rights coordinator to share and collaborate;
- Travelled to Project in-person meetings in D.C. and at the other Project Partner’s site; and
- Workedclosely with the Center to implement and sustain the organization’s human rights agenda.
Maryland Legal Aid and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid hired the following human rights coordinators: Reena Shah was hired as the Human Rights Project Director at Maryland Legal Aid and Nelson Mock was hired as the Human Rights Coordinator at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. Their full biographies are available below.
Maryland Legal Aid
Reena Shah, is a long-time advocate for social justice at Maryland Legal Aid (MDLAB), where she is the Director of the newly launched Human Rights Project. Prior to this, she was a Staff Attorney in the Housing and Consumer Law Unit, where she represented clients in judicial and administrative proceedings and promoted access to justice. Ms. Shah is active in her community, serving on the Alumni Board of Maryland Law School and the Board of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland. Ms. Shah is a recipient of The Daily Record’s 2010 Leading Women Award and holds a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from The George Washington University, a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of Maryland.
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
Nelson Mock, a Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) managing attorney in the Austin Office, has been appointed as TRLA’s Human Rights Coordinator. Mr. Mock has been a managing attorney in the Private Landlord / Tenant & Housing for People with Disabilities practice area since 2003, was a staff attorney before that, and clerked with TRLA as a law student. Before joining the TRLA staff, Mr. Mock clerked for the U.S. District Court Judge William Wayne Justice of the Western District of Texas. Mr. Mock also clerked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Office of the Prosecutor, The Hague, Netherlands. Last year Mr. Mock was awarded the 2011 J. Chrys Dougherty Award for Legal Services by the Texas State Bar Committee on Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters, an award given to one outstanding legal services staff attorney in Texas each year.