Elizabeth Baldwin Returns as Director of the Gates Public Service Law Program

This New Year, UW Law welcomed back Elizabeth Baldwin to her new role as Director of the Gates Public Service Law Program. Baldwin has a long history of working with students and is delighted to be working with them again in this capacity at UW Law in the Center for Career Development.

Baldwin spent over a decade at UW Law, beginning as a Legal Writing Advisor in the Legal Educators Support Project Afghanistan (LESPA); then as a Lecturer teaching advanced courses in legal research and writing across law school programs; and finally, as the Associate Director of the Master of Jurisprudence program. Before law school, Elizabeth taught English to Speakers of Other Languages for many years, including at a publicly funded, alternative middle and high school program and at various non-profits serving immigrants and refugees. She also taught worksite literacy for Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) here in Seattle.

Deeply committed to public service, Baldwin returns to UW Law after 3 years as senior attorney at the field office of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a non-profit legal aid organization that serves migrant children and their families.

At KIND, Baldwin provided direct representation to both detained and released unaccompanied children in removal proceedings, and she mentored pro bono teams at Microsoft and other companies and law firms in Seattle. Earlier in her legal career, Elizabeth was the Children’s Coordinator at KIND’s predecessor organization, Volunteer Advocates for Immigrant Justice (VAIJ). She spent nearly two years as a legal advocate at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP).

Elizabeth holds a B.A. from the Honors College at the University of Oregon; an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a J.D., magna cum laude, from Seattle University School of Law, where she served as a Research and Technical Editor on the editorial board of the law review.

UW Law asked Baldwin a few questions about her return to UW Law.

UW Law: What excites you the most about coming back here?

Baldwin: I chose to return to the law school because of the students.  Last spring in my role as a Senior Attorney at KIND, I accompanied UW Law students and the former Assistant Director of the Gates Public Service Law Program, Haiyun Damon-Feng, to the KIND emergency intake site at the US-Mexico border. On that trip, students met with hundreds of children who were in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. When I saw how important that experience was to the students, as well as the real impact they were able to have as a team, I started thinking seriously about coming back to the law school to help with Gates PSL. I love student energy for challenging systems and engaging in public service—I find it infectious and inspiring. I wanted to be around that positivity and optimism and to help students find a clear path to great pro bono and public service projects and opportunities, while they’re in law school and after graduation.

UW Law: What makes working for UW Law again so special to you?

Baldwin: The students are always No. 1 for me, but I also love and have deep respect my colleagues at UW. It’s great to be back in the same space with them, working toward common goals for the benefit of the students and the law school community. And I love that I can walk down any of the hallways and there’s always a friendly face. It’s home for me in lots of ways.

UW Law: What you look forward to building upon in the Gates Public Service Law Program?

I look forward to building and strengthening our relationships—with PILA, with our public service-oriented clinics, with our many student organizations, with our alumni network, and with our public service community in Seattle and beyond. I want the Gates Public Service Law Program to be known as a strong center for public service, providing students with opportunities to serve, building the skills and experiences that appeal to public service employers, and also networking and building relationships with public service partners in our community. I want student ideas and innovations in this effort too—so students, please come find me and share your ideas for the programming that you’d like to see.