TLF Fellow of the Month: Deanna Markowitz

Texas Defender Service

Texas Defender Service is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that represents prisoners on Texas’ death row in their post-conviction proceedings. This summer I worked with Texas Defender Service in Austin and learned from and worked with experienced death penalty attorneys. I had the opportunity to be involved with the representation of prisoners on Texas’ death row in post-conviction habeas proceedings, primarily in federal court. Additionally, I assisted with investigation and preparation for capital murder trials. I meet with inmates on death row to update them on the status of their appeals and to understand more the prison experience of those awaiting execution.

I will admit that working at Texas Defender Service was trying at times. Due to limited funding, TDS relies heavily on their interns for challenging research and writing projects. Additionally, the constant confrontation of callousness and injustice in the capital murder system as well as the tragic life stories of the inmates pre- and post-conviction was often heartbreaking. The experience at Texas Defender Service cemented my ambition to pursue a career in legal social justice, particularly in criminal defense. Ingrained within myself is an unyielding empathy of others less fortunate and a drive to direct my facilities towards improving the lives of others. I am very blessed to have the opportunity to learn from extraordinary lawyers while following my passion.

Thank you so much for supporting pro bono legal service and students like me. I am proud that I dedicated my summer to public interest law and I even more proud to go to the University of Texas School of Law that is committed to enabling students pursue public interest careers. I appreciate your generosity and I look forward to continuing my legal education and career.

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