About WIPI

2015 Conference Schedule  |  Panel Descriptions  |  Conference Registration  |  About WIPI


Working in the Public Interest Conference

Entirely student organized, WIPI seeks to bring together eminent practitioners in their respective fields, students, and faculty to discuss practical approaches to lawyering that promote social justice and human rights for all. The Conference seeks to highlight dynamic, creative ways to combat social injustice through the vehicle of the law. WIPI is committed to institutionalizing a public interest law conference in the Southeast. We feel the social history, political climate, and economic conditions of the Southeast are unique, and we hope that by providing a forum to address persistent social injustices we may get one step closer to resolving some of the major public interest law issues in the Southeast.



The WIPI Conference was founded by UGA Law Students in 2005. Kelly James, Rakesh Parekh, Heidi Taylor, and Vanessa Volz teamed up to develop a conference proposal. Dean Rebecca H. White of the UGA School of Law graciously offered to support the endeavor and WIPI was born. The first annual WIPI Conference was held in April of 2006, and former Senator John Edwards served as the inaugural keynote speaker.

Past WIPI Conferences and Panel Research Papers (2015 Panel Research Papers forthcoming)



Director:                      Elliott Gillooly (

Deputy Director:         Jonathan Tonge

Panels Co-Director:     Shaniqua Singleton

Panels Co-Director:     Gregory Steele

Logistics Director:      Imani Carter

CLE Co-Director:       Katherine Grace Howard

CLE Co-Director:       Lesley Alexandra Oneill

PR Co-Director:          Anna Fowler

PR Co-Director:          Hannah Allen

Hospitality Director:   Sakeena Leben-Yearwood


WIPI Awards

In 2007, the WIPI Executive Board established the Milner S. Ball Lifetime Achievement Award to honor practitioners that have dedicated their careers to public interest work. The award is named for Professor Ball, who founded UGA's Public Interest Practicum and inspired many UGA students to pursue their interests in public interest law.


2014 - Stephen Bright, President and Senior Counsel, Southern Center for Human Rights
2012 - Don Keenan, Founder, Keenan's Kids Foundation
2011 - Doug Ammar, Executive Director of Georgia Justice Project
2010 - John Whithead, President and Founder of the Rutherford Institute
2009 - J.L. Chestnut, Civil Rights Advocate 
2008 - Phyllis Holmen, Executive Director, Georgia Legal Services Program
2007 - Prof. Milner S. Ball, Caldwell Professor of Constitutional Law, UGA, & Founder of the UGA Law School Public Interest Practicum

The WIPI Executive board also created the WIPI Student Achievement Award to honor law students who, through their work in public interest, made a significant difference in the lives of the indigent or under-served. Candidates for the award should be current law students, who did not receive compensation or monetary reward for their efforts. Work performed in clinics, internships, and externship for class credit is acceptable. Please send your nominations for both awards to


2012 - Touch Thouk, 3L, University of Saint Thomas School of Law
2011 - Emma Hetherington, 3L, University of Georgia School of Law, Co-Founder Public Interest Law Council
2010 - Nikki Thanos, 3L, Loyola Univeristy College of Law in New Orleans Louisiana
2009 - Rebecca Williford, 3L, University of North Carolina, President of Disability Law Association.
2008 - Steve Weyer and Terri Porter, Co-Chairs of EPIC 2008, Inspiration Awards, Emory Law School
2007 - Cliff Williams, 3L, Georgia State University College of Law and Georgia Innocence Project Intern