July 06, 2023 — Daphnie Escobedo, a rising second-year University of Houston Law Center student, has secured a Federal Magistrate Judges Association (FMJA) fellowship for the 2023-2024 academic year. One of eight students nationwide to be named an FMJA Fellow, Escobedo will intern for Peter Bray, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Texas, gleaning tips on research, writing and the rigor of the court.
“I will be doing a variety of tasks to help Judge Bray on his cases in specific ways, such as a motion to dismiss, a summary judgment, writing memos, etc.,” Escobedo said.
The fellowship assignments will target the law specifically and provide Bray with further assistance by researching the diverse material covered in his caseload and fact-checking.
“He has been gracious in letting me go to other judicial proceedings as well,” Escobedo said. “I have seen jury proceedings, arraignments, re-arraignments, sentencings, trials and probation hearings, trying to get a sense of what I would do if presented with that situation in a trial.”
Escobedo received a $2,500 stipend and will spend eight weeks working alongside Bray to observe and assist in various judicial proceedings, prompting growth in understanding of the federal court system, improving written and oral skills, and developing an ease of argumentation.
“I like the conversations that I am having with Judge Bray and his law clerks, and I also love the idea that I can give Judge Bray something written that he can use for his own opinions after a couple of revisions,” Escobedo said. “It is early in the fellowship, but already I see such potential for growth.”
The fellowship was created in 2021 by a partnership between FMJA and Just the Beginning (JTB), a pipeline organization that encourages interest in legal careers among varying socioeconomic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds that are typically overlooked and underrepresented in the legal profession. The project is designed to provide opportunities for students to learn the various pathways to the judiciary and the multiple duties of federal magistrate judges.
“His articulation in arguing, in words, is also something I would like to pick up,” Escobedo said. “I have seen him, and other judges and attorneys, switch confidently back and forth in a legal discussion. I would love to be able to take what I have seen and to apply it, to take what I have memorized from the book and effectively, confidently put it into action with such ease.”
Dedicated to creating a diverse community of women in the justice system and navigating how that can be improved, Escobedo is active in both the Women in Law Society and If/When/How program, lawyering for reproductive justice.
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