COURTNEY LEWIS ’19
OFFICE OF CAPITAL & FORENSIC WRITS
“I have the privilege of knowing my clients better than anyone has ever bothered to know them.”
Courtney Lewis applied to Dickinson Law after volunteering at a juvenile hall writing program. “No one ever asked these kids what was going on in their lives or what they needed to become successful,” said Lewis. She spent her years at the Law School focused on “dismantling the privilege in the court system,” serving an internship with the Innocence Project in Philadelphia, PA.
Now, as a staff attorney at the Office of Capital & Forensic Writs (OCFW) in Austin, TX, she is a public defender representing clients pursuing post-conviction litigation, often trying to get life sentences or death penalty cases overturned.
Lewis learns everything she can about her clients, investigating up to three generations back. “I go wherever people are willing to tell stories,” Lewis said. “We have the opportunity to give the humanity back to our clients in a way that the state wants to strip away.”
She credits her time on the Dickinson Law Review for strengthening her legal writing and research skills. She also appreciates the school’s flexibility. During second semester of her 3L year, Lewis worked at OCFW in Austin for school credit, assisting on a case the court finally decided in her client’s favor last year. “The moment we got the news that he would not be put to death by the state of Texas, that was amazing,” said Lewis. “I know it can feel impossible sometimes to challenge a narrative about who someone is or what they have done, but I encourage lawyers not to be afraid to question.”