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1000 Public Service Hours Driven by Law Grad’s Passion

Amanda Moreland Photo
Amanda (Mandi) Moreland is a self-described joiner. When she was a first-year law student, she said she signed nearly every list at the student organization fair during orientation. However, through her focus and curiosity, third-year law student Moreland has been able to leverage her multitude of experiences into a budding career in public health law.

Moreland received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Missouri. In graduate school, she studied public health with an emphasis in health promotion and policy. She then went to work in Boston for the nonprofit Partners in Health, whose work strengthens health systems in developing countries. Moreland enjoyed doing the hands-on work and saw the organization become increasingly involved with the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

“It was heavy work …but I was really happy that I was in that field of public health,” Moreland said. “But what I realized when I was there and started working, is that I wanted another tool to do more. That’s where law school came in.”

While considering law schools, Moreland said the DePaul University College of Law stood out for its human rights and international law offerings. She also noted the opportunities to combine her other legal interests with public health.

“I think a lot of times people come into law school thinking that they have a very set plan, which even I did,” Moreland said. “I came in for a very particular reason, but there’s so many things that you just don’t know that you don’t know. You just get exposed to so many more issues within the legal field.”

Currently, Moreland is balancing course work at DePaul with an internship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in their Public Health Law Program. She began her work at the CDC in Atlanta in the summer of 2018 and was awarded the Pusateri Fellowship by the Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL) to fund her internship. She has been involved with the CDC’s global public health initiatives and opioid legislation research.

“It was my chance to really dive into a role where I was combining my public health experience with my legal education,” Moreland said. “It was confirmation that it was the right route to go.”

Early in law school, Moreland became involved with the International Human Rights Law Institute (IHRLI), International Law Society (ILS), Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL) and DePaul Law Review. As a third-year student, Moreland is a board member for IHRLI, ILS and DePaul Law Review.

Moreland also took advantage of the many study abroad and service trips available to law students. She joined the annual winter break service trip to New Orleans all three years of law school. During her first service trip to New Orleans, she volunteered at the Covenant House which led to her first internship at the new Covenant House site in Chicago. Additionally, Moreland was selected for a Cudahy Fellowship to fund her work with youth experiencing homelessness. This year, Moreland was the student coordinator of the New Orleans trip, organizing the group activities that she felt were most valuable for her peers and also beneficial to the clients they served.

Moreland was recently awarded the Benjamin Hooks Distinguished Public Service Award, which is given to graduating students that reported serving 200 or more service hours while at DePaul Law. The average for hours served is about 388, but at more than 1000 service hours, Moreland accomplished a rare feat for law students.

Driven by her passion for promoting human rights, Moreland enrolled in the International Human Rights Law Practicum (IHRLP) her second year of law school and enrolled in the Advanced International Human Rights Law Practicum (AIHRLP) her third year of law school. Her work in the IHRLP included travel to Santiago, Chile to collaborate with local organizations to compose a shadow report to a UN treaty body.

Moreland also studied international human rights law and international criminal law while studying abroad in Madrid and The Hague. In The Hague, through the Post-Conflict Justice Immersion Course (PCJIC), Moreland furthered her understanding of international criminal law by visiting international criminal tribunals and meeting with professionals in the field.

Executive Director of IHRLI and Global Initiatives Elisabeth Ward, who teaches the IHRLP and the PCJIC, said Moreland was one of the most driven students she has ever had the pleasure of teaching.

“Motivated by her desire to produce a quality report outlining ongoing human rights violations, Amanda surpassed all expectations, and quickly earned a leadership position in the IHRLP,” Ward said. “Not only does she have unmatched passion, she also has such a warm and charismatic personality.”

Moreland said one of her best law school experiences during her last year was serving as the Symposium Editor for the DePaul Law Review. She found another opportunity to use her commitment to public health issues to plan the event around legal approaches to improving public health. She said it was a great way to network with professionals in the field and share their expertise with her peers.

Moreland said being open to every opportunity would be her advice to younger and prospective law students. She added graduating was more exciting than scary in comparison to starting law school.

“It becomes more of a challenge and an adventure,” Moreland said.​