The Squire Patton Boggs Foundation honored two Fellowship alumnae, Meaghan Fitzgerald and Meyling “Mey” Ly Ortiz, with the 2023 Distinguished Fellow Award during a recent virtual ceremony. Recipients are recognized for their commitment to justice and addressing the needs of the underrepresented.
“The unwavering commitment to service displayed by our fellows is something for us all to be proud of,” said John Oberdorfer, Foundation President. “Meaghan and Mey exemplify public service and leadership qualities and are well deserving of this recognition, and we are elated to be a part of their professional journeys.”
An alumna of the Foundation’s 2007 Fellowship Class and a graduate of the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, Ms. Fitzgerald serves as Head of the Election Department at OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) based in Warsaw, Poland. In addition to her various roles within ODIHR, which includes Deputy Head of Mission in Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Georgia, Ms. Fitzgerald previously served as Head of Mission for The Carter Center in Liberia, as an electoral and legal analyst in Myanmar, and helped organize the referendum in South Sudan while working for the United Nations.
An alumna of the Foundation’s 2005 Fellowship Class and a graduate of Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, Ms. Ortiz serves as Managing Counsel for Labor & Employment at Toyota Motor North America based in Plano, Texas. In addition to her role at Toyota, Ms. Ortiz is co-founder and president of “The Podium,” a non-profit organization which seeks to embolden Asian American women lawyers, advance, and support their interest and goals through authentic connections, and amplify their voices and opportunities in the legal profession. Ms. Ortiz also mentors lawyers and provides professional insight through her blog “TheMeybe.com.”
The Catholic Law community celebrates Meaghan’s selection as a 2023 Squire Patton Boggs Foundation Distinguished Fellow,” said Stephen C. Payne, dean of the Columbus School of Law. “Meaghan’s twenty-plus-year career protecting the integrity of elections in Eastern Europe is a model for how a law degree can be harnessed to serve communities around the world. We’re grateful to the Foundation for their nurturing of Meaghan’s studies when she was selected as Catholic University’s first-ever Squire Patton Boggs Foundation Public Policy Fellow in 2007. This important investment in Meaghan’s education helped deepen her understanding of international human rights law, equipping her with the tools necessary for a far-reaching career defending international democratic governance. We are incredibly proud of Meaghan’s work and congratulate her on this latest achievement.”
I am truly honored to receive this recognition from the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation,” said Ms. Fitzgerald. “The Foundation’s roots in service and promoting best efforts to give back in a meaningful way to the communities where we live and practice helped me see how I could use my legal education towards this goal.”
Ms. Ortiz is a 2006 graduate of SMU Dedman Law, but she is an alumna of the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation Fellowship Class of 2005. That means that her journey to becoming an intrepid and fearless public interest and public policy game changer began before she even graduated from law school,” said Jason P. Nance, dean of the Dedman School of Law. “This is a testament to the significant value that exposure to pro bono and public service in law school have on lawyers’ careers. Ms. Ortiz is an excellent example of the impact of the Squire Patton Boggs Fellowship makes on recipients who then go on to affect the real, positive change they want to see in the world.”
Ms. Ortiz added, “The Foundation encourages pro bono and mentorship service to others and those attributes have been pivotal to my professional success. It’s an honor to receive this acknowledgement from the Foundation and to be connected to such an amazing organization.”
Rooted in a history of civil rights advocacy, the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation originally was funded with lawyers’ fees from a pro bono employment discrimination case. Further information on the Foundation is available here.