Erin Loubier ’98 Reflects on Why AUWCL is a Great Place to Study Public Interest Law
Erin Loubier is Director of Public Benefits and Senior Managing Attorney at Whitman-Walker Health, where she oversees public benefits and client eligibility programs, and represents clients in complex public benefit matters at all levels of appeal. On the occasion of her 20th work anniversary, Loubier reflects on her legal education at American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) and the opportunities that helped secure her dream career.
I chose AUWCL because of its commitment to supporting public interest law, feminist founding, and a feeling of community within the law school. I knew a lot about law schools when I was applying, as I had spent the three years prior to law school traveling around the country as a student organizer for Equal Justice Works – the national organization dedicated to supporting public interest law students and funding lawyers. My job was to help students advocate for loan forgiveness, public interest career counselors, money for summer fellowships, and culture shifts within the school to better value public interest minded students.
AUWCL had those things and culturally a view that public interest students were something to be proud of. So, I chose the school and feel so grateful for the support I felt throughout my time as a student and that I continue to feel as an alum. I also am so grateful to the Equal Justice Foundation for funding my second summer when I worked for Whitman-Walker Health (a federally qualified health center serving Washington, DC’s diverse urban community with special focus on people living with HIV and the LGBT community). That summer experience literally changed my life and what I wanted to do. I fell in love with our clients and the opportunity to fight injustice and remove health harming legal problems.
This year, I celebrated 20 years since law school graduation and as a staff person here at Whitman-Walker Health. I have had so many roles here – Staff Attorney focused on public benefits, Managing Attorney supervising the staff attorneys and managing our practice areas and priorities – like creating a Public Benefits and Insurance Navigation department to screen all patients for insurance eligibility and assist with enrollment and screen for social determinants of health, re-thinking how newly HIV-positive patients get into care immediately, to my role on the leadership team for a number of years.
Now, my leadership role oversees Legal Services, Public Benefits and Insurance Navigation, health care billing, payment reform, and our medical-legal partnership – the oldest one in the country. I truly love my work, my colleagues, our patients, and our community. I learn something new every day and use my legal skills to improve patient experience, solve thorny problems, and find better systemic solutions. AUWCL was a great place to study public interest and a partner in helping me secure my dream career.
“I chose AUWCL because of its commitment to supporting public interest law, feminist founding, and a feeling of community within the law school.”