Disability Law United’s Spring 2022 Externs!

Disability Law United is grateful and excited to welcome Toni Cross and Hilary Smith on board.  

Photograph of Toni Cross. Toni is a Black woman wearing a black blazer, a dark green and white shirt, and metallic hoop earrings. She is smiling. The background is a white wall.

Toni joins the Accessibility Project as a current 2L at Vanderbilt Law School. Born and raised in Orlando, Florida, she is a law student, writer, and musician. At Vanderbilt, she is a member of the ABA Moot Court Traveling Team and Headnotes A Capella group. She serves as Black History Month Co-Chair for the Black Law Students Association and the Disability Chair for the Law Students for Social Justice club. She will be participating in Vanderbilt’s Immigration Clinic this semester, helping Afghan refugees file for asylum.  

Toni says, “I am ecstatic to start working with Disability Law United on issues of accessibility and equity and look forward to soaking up all that team has to teach me!” 

In 2018, Toni graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont, where she majored in International and Global Studies focused on Russia and Eastern Europe and minored in Arabic. She then moved to Washington, DC and earned an MA in International Security from Georgetown University. She has interned for the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, the Democratic National Committee, and volunteered for the ACLU of Tennessee. 

Toni is passionate about communicating across difference and has put this love into practice by studying multiple languages (Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Mandarin, and Turkish) and by advocating for meaningful diversity and inclusion at the schools she has attended.  

Recently, Toni has been working on writing a novel about first generation Americans, making music, and hanging out with her pet gremlin (dog) Frankie (she/her). 

Hilary joins IDAP as a 3L at University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where she has held positions as an Editor and Equity Committee Member of the Denver Law Review, a board member of the Student Immigration Law Coalition, and a Teaching Assistant.  

Photograph of Hilary Smith. Hilary is a white woman with long brown hair. She is wearing a coral-orange blazer and a white and black patterned shirt. She is smiling. The background is blurred out.

Hilary is experienced in advocating with and for immigrant clients. In Summer 2021, she worked as a Legal Intern with the Survivors of Torture program at the International Rescue Committee, helping to prepare applications for asylum seekers, support pro bono representation, and create training and policy initiatives. As a Student Attorney in the Immigration Law and Policy Clinic at DU, she similarly engaged in both client- and policy-focused advocacy. She was a 2020 Summer Fellow at the Yale Law School Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, where she supported immigrants and low-wage workers across labor, immigration, civil rights, and other legal matters. 

Prior to law school, Hilary worked at the International Rescue Committee in Denver as the Housing and Logistics Coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a specialization in International Organizations, Security and Human Rights from the University of Denver. In 2016, she studied abroad in Amman, Jordan; her research on options and barriers to family planning for Syrian refugee women was accepted into the University of Notre Dame’s Human Development Conference in 2017. 

“I am honored to join Disability Law United and the IDAP team during my last semester of law school. I have seen how the health of immigrants in detention can be neglected and I am ready to learn from this inspiring team how to advocate for systemic change,” Hilary says.

Photograph of Alister, a brown striped and white cat sitting on a floral couch.

When not studying or working with Disability Law United, Hilary moves aside the furniture in her apartment to dance. She is supported by her work-from-home assistant, Alister. 

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