Meredith Gardial (JD ’16) joins the Wilbanks CEASE Clinic as its first Post-Graduate Fellow. Over the course of the twelve-month fellowship Meredith will assist CEASE Clinic Director Emma Hetherington (JD ’11) in litigating cases on behalf of surivors of child sex abuse. Meredith will not only be instrumental in advancing the clinic’s mission of assisting survivors, but also in training the next generation of attorneys interested in working with survivors.
Meredith first joined the Wilbanks CEASE clinic during her 3L year as a clinical student. “I’ve always been interested in child welfare, but what really attracted me to the clinic is its unique vision for changing the legal landscape in the area of child sexual abuse. It was important to me that I participated in at least one semester of clinic work while I was in law school because Georgia Law has such a strong clinical program.” Meredith plans to pursue a career in litigation and hopes that her work with the clinic will increase the resources available to survivors and the diversity of cases that the clinic is able to litigate.
From a very young age, Meredith wanted to be a lawyer. “I’ve always been inspired by trailblazers and anyone who is brave enough to be the ‘first’ to do something. I think that’s part of why the work at the clinic inspires me.” By being the first ever Post-Graduate Fellow at Georgia Law, Meredith herself has become a trailblazer.
During her time at Georgia Law, Meredith was an active student. She was a member of the editorial staff of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, as well as an executive board member of the Women Law Student Association. As a student Meredith proved herself as an exceptional advocate. Among her numerous achievements, Meredith won the Ralph J. Beaird Closing Argument and the Melvin J. England Mock Trial Competitions and placed in the top 16 of the Richard B. Russell Moot Court Competition. She also competed and placed in five moot court and mock trial competitions, including the Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition, the largest moot court competition in the world. Meredith’s advocacy accomplishments earned her positions on both the Moot Court and Mock Trial Executive Boards as well as membership as a Pupil in the Lumpkin Inn of Court. In May of 2016 Meredith was inducted into the Order of the Barrister, the only litigation honor society in the nation.
The experience Meredith gained while at Georgia Law prepared Meredith for her work with the CEASE clinic. “The legal education and advocacy training that I received at Georgia Law equipped me with the skills I needed to start my career as a litigator and an advocate. I’m excited to continue working with the Georgia Law community.”