Penn State Law student Brittany Mouzourakis ’14 was awarded a place in the 2014 Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics Law program (FASPE).
Mouzourakis was selected from two-hundred and forty applicants for one of twelve fellowships in the summer law program.
The fellowship focuses on the role of law in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust and uses that historic focus as a framework for the consideration of contemporary ethical issues. Students spend two weeks traveling to New York, Germany, and Poland. Topics of study include: The Rule of Law vs. Lawlessness; The Role and Limits of Bioethics; The Goals of Morality in the Face of Evil; The Responsibility to Report; and Ethical Limitations on Profit-Seeking.
Mouzourakis became interested in the operation of the legal system in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust after visiting the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan over winter break. “Before applying to FASPE, I never contemplated how critical judges and lawyers were in orchestrating and perpetuating the Holocaust,” said Mouzourakis. “Studying the ethical behavior of judges and lawyers in Nazi Germany seems fascinating, and will no doubt allow me to think critically about contemporary legal ethics issues.”
The fellowship runs from June 1 to June 15 and will be co-taught by Eric Muller, the Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor in Jurisprudence and Ethics at the University Of North Carolina School of Law, and Belinda Cooper, a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute.
Mouzourakis said she is excited to gain a deeper understanding of the Holocaust alongside some of the brightest law students in the country and FASPE program instructors.
“I hope to more fully understand the behavior of judges and lawyers in Nazi Germany and the ethical dilemmas they faced,” said Mouzourakis. “I also hope to gain a deeper appreciation of the importance of legal ethical behavior in safeguarding the rights of those who often do not have a voice in the legal system.”
As a part of the fellowship, she will write a paper on a contemporary legal ethics issue to be published nationally. In addition to her general interest in legal ethics, Mouzourakis has a strong scholarly interest in animal legal rights and ethics and received the national Advancement of Animal Law Scholarship by the Animal Legal Defense Fund last summer. Her scholarly work has been published in Michigan State University’s Journal of Animal & Natural Resource Law. Mouzourakis attributes her passion for legal scholarship to her involvement with the Penn State Law Review, where she currently serves as Managing Editor.
Last summer, Mouzourakis worked at Dykema, a law firm based in Detroit, Michigan. She handled projects dealing with various kinds of law—consumer finance class action defense, environmental law, utility regulation and employment law as a summer associate at Dykema. This fall she will begin a two-year clerkship with the Hon. Bernard Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit.