Law professor awarded for fighting for equality
Janet B. Beck, assistant clinical professor of the Law Center’s Immigration Clinic, was named as the winner of the prestigious 2015 WGRC Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award by the Women’s Gender and Resource Center in the clinical faculty category.
The award is not a surprise to most of Beck’s colleagues and students. A practicing lawyer since 1987, Beck has spent the entirety of her professional career fighting for oppressed groups in society, including women, LGBT and transgender clients and victims of human trafficking.
“Over the years I’ve represented many women and several LGBT clients seeking asylum based on persecution on account of female genital mutilation, human trafficking, violence against women, and transgender and gay clients and their applications for asylum,” said Beck. “All people should be treated equally and protected by the U.S. constitution regardless of race, religion, gender, or nationality, and I’m working to make sure that happens.”
Beck has also been a professor and mentor to a countless number of students in the University of Houston Law Center immigration clinic. Since arriving as a visiting assistant clinical professor in 2009, she’s made sure to expose the students she supervises to new ideas and concepts, making them more useful for potential clients.
“The students have been exposed and broadened their horizons of gender and LGBT issues in the course of representation of our clients,” said Beck.
Beck was nominated for the award by her colleague, clinical associate professor Geoffrey Hoffman, director of the Immigration Clinic through which faculty, students, and staff represent poverty-stricken clients that would otherwise not have legal representation, according to Beck. This dedication to helping others goes far back into Beck’s career. A Peace Corps veteran and former certified social worker, Beck received her masters from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration with an intent to help underrepresented groups before receiving her law degree from UH law school in 1986.
In the future, Beck hopes to address the ongoing issues that still plague the groups she’s tirelessly helped.
“There’s still a great deal to do in terms of attorney representation, of people who are discriminated against and or persecuted on account of their gender throughout the world. I want to continue to represent these people and their immigration matters at the UHLC immigration clinic.”
Beck will be also be honored by WGRC at a luncheon in April.