Award Recipient Balances Career, Campus Mentoring, Nonprofit Role
July 16, 2014
As an associate at a large Dallas law firm, Aubrey Lavery Meyers has a demanding schedule.
But that has not stopped Meyers BS’05 MBA’06 from coming back to campus to mentor pre-law students. Or from representing victims of political and religious persecution pro bono for the Dallas-based Human Rights Initiative of North Texas. Or from joining the nonprofit’s board of directors.
Meyers’ community service made her a great candidate for the 2014 Undergraduate Alumni Achievement Award, said Dr. Anthony Champagne, political science professor and director of the UT Dallas Pre-Law Advising and Resource Center.
Champagne nominated her for the award, which Meyers received at the Spring 2014 Honors Convocation. The corporate finance attorney and Naveen Jindal School of Management graduate delivered the keynote address and was inducted as an honorary member of the UT Dallas chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious honor societies.
Dr. Anthony Champagne
“We are proud of Aubrey Meyers’ many accomplishments,” said Dr. Hasan Pirkul, Jindal School dean and Caruth Chair. “Her work mentoring students and representing clients exemplifies the type of community service we encourage in all of our students.”
Meyers, an associate in the Dallas office of Holland & Knight, said she was speechless at first when she got a call that she had won the award. She said that Champagne had contacted her earlier in the year about wanting to nominate her for an award, but she did not know anything else about it.
“I thought it was going to be something smaller,” said Meyers, who said she was “overwhelmed.”
At the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Meyers is a “superstar,” said Bill Holston, the nonprofit’s executive director.
“She’s a great advocate for us and the community,” said Holston BA’78. “With this kind of work, you’re saving people’s lives when you represent them in immigration court, where they’re facing the possibility of being returned to their home country.”
Dr. Hasan Pirkul
Meyers said representing a political leader who fled Colombia is one of the highlights of her career. She said the woman and her family had to leave their country to escape death threats and attacks because of her political work. They were granted asylum.
Meyers specializes in asylum cases, but as a new board member she is learning more about the humanitarian crisis resulting from an influx of unaccompanied children crossing U.S. borders.
“It’s an extremely important issue both with HRI and across our state and country right now,” Meyers said.
She also said she enjoys giving back to the school that provided her with a scholarship and the business degrees that have been instrumental in her work representing banks in financial transactions.
“When you represent bankers, you need to be able to understand their language and their terms,” Meyers said. “From day one, I understood the talk. I think having an MBA gave me immediate credibility that I wasn’t just a kid off the street; I had a finance background.”
Champagne said he hopes Meyers’ accomplishments inspire other students and demonstrate the importance of giving back to the community.
“She’s been very good as a mentor to UT Dallas students, and she’s done really important work in terms of helping in asylum cases,” Champagne said. “And she’s managed to do that, incredibly enough, while being an associate in a major law firm, which is just overwhelming in and of itself.”