Aug. 23, 2018 — Second-year University of Houston Law Center students Michael Drab, Lori Lang and Joseph Loofbourrow come from divergent paths, but shared a common goal of advancing the rights of the disabled during their summer fellowships with Disability Rights Texas.
Drab graduated from the University of Houston in 2013 with a focus in Philosophy and Ethics. But he had an interest in healthcare reform before college. As a high school student, he traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby with the National Hemophilia Foundation.
"I had no idea that most politicians are lawyers and so never was inclined toward practicing law," Drab said.
After completing his undergraduate degree in philosophy at UH, he continued his education taking the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, studying Medical Humanities, History of Medicine, Literature and Medicine, and Ethics. The fellowship will provide Drab with a unique blend of his past experiences.
"A lot of my research occurred at the nexus between medicine, society, and the law focusing on the ways in which the system of medical knowledge is legitimized and given legal force," Drab said.
Lang completed her undergraduate education in 2010, with a bachelor's degree in French and public relations from the University of Alabama. She previously interned and worked with the Houston Ballet in public relations and as a developmental associate and as a membership at program coordinator at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. She was also formerly a marketing coordinator at the UT Health and Science Center in Houston.
Lang was curious in non-profit work before considering law school and was able to put her interest into action.
"The work was incredibly fulfilling, but I felt strongly that I could do more for the organizations and causes that I am passionate about with a different set of skills," Lang said.
She first heard about Disability Rights Texas at a Government Interest and Public Interest Table Talk hosted by the Law Center's Career Development Office. There she met Dustin Rynders '06, a Law Center alumnus, adjunct professor and a supervising attorney with Disability Rights Texas.
Throughout the fellowship, Lang worked on projects related to Hurricane Harvey. She is looking forward to the opportunity to help her community, as her neighborhood was severely impact by the storm.
"My goal of going back to school was to gain new skills to make a larger, more tangible difference in people's lives, and this is the opportunity I have been waiting for," Lang said.
In 2017 Loofbourrow graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston with a bachelor's degree in Music Business. He found that his love of music could translate into the legal field, which brought him to the Law Center.
"Before Berklee, I didn't really know that entertainment law was a thing," Loofbourrow said. "But after meeting entertainment attorneys through my undergrad experience, I decided it was really the best fit for me. I love working with creative people and I think that I would really enjoy advocating for them in the future,"
While this fellowship differs from entertainment law, Loofbourrow said working for Disability Rights Texas was a memorable experience.
"I enjoyed learning what legal needs families of children with disabilities face in Texas," he said.