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Buel article published in Perspectives


March 16, 2012

Professor Sarah Buel, Faculty Director of the Director of the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice, recently published an article titled, “Be open to opportunities,” in Perspectives, a magazine for and about woman lawyers. The article tells the story of how Buel got to where she is today, and urges readers to seize opportunities when they are presented.

Buel said she knew she wanted to be a lawyer ever since childhood, when she discovered “Perry Mason” on television. She attended eight different high schools before graduating and marrying her high school sweetheart. He began to physically assault her when she told him she wanted to go to law school.

She moved with her son to New York City and worked as a paralegal before starting school at Columbia University. After graduating, Buel moved to Massachusetts to work at the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety, coordinating domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy and programs.

She applied to Harvard Law School and would drive by Langdell Library, roll down her window and yell, “You’re going to let me in!”

After being admitted with scholarships, Buel started several women’s advocacy programs and projects, including the Women in Prison Project and the Battered Women’s Advocacy Project. She also helped produce a documentary titled, “Defending Our Lives,” which won an Academy Award for Best Short Documentary.

Buel began work as Massachusetts’ first domestic violence prosecutor after law school, but moved to the University of Texas School of Law when offered an opportunity to teach domestic violence courses and start a legal clinic. She came to the College of Law in 2010, to help establish the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice.

“Susan Taylor, an Essence magazine editor, says most people die with their songs still in their throats,” Buel said. “By learning to seize opportunities when they are presented, I’ve been singing at the top of my lungs for decades and…I’m just getting started.”

To read the article, click here.

Buel, who NBC has called one of the five most inspiring women in America, has worked for more than 30 years with battered women and children. She graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School. Buel was a prosecutor for six years in Boston and Quincy, Mass., and for 14 years was a clinical professor at the University of Texas School of Law, where she founded and co-directed their Domestic Violence Clinic, co-founded the University of Texas Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and served as special counsel for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association.