For The Record

Internships can be a gateway into one’s career, but for Rachael Deane, L’10, an internship became her career. After interning with the City of Richmond Charter Review Commission in her third year of law school, Deane now serves as its vice chair.

“Some of the staff who work for the city are the same staff who were there when I was a student, and they remembered me,” says Deane. “It was really nice to see this great example of public servants who’ve been staffing the City Council for so long.”

The commission reviews Richmond’s charter, the constitution for the city that provides guidelines for topics such as city government elections and the relative powers of the council and mayor. Commissioners look for possible changes “to improve local government and the services that our city residents receive,” she says. One of Deane’s colleagues is a fellow Spider, Thad Williamson. He is an associate professor of leadership studies at UR and chair of the commission.

In addition to her role on the commission, Deane serves as the chief executive officer of Voices of Virginia’s Children, a nonprofit children’s advocacy organization. In this position, she spends time in the legislative space and General Assembly and works on policy campaigns dedicated to improving children’s lives.

Public service is Deane’s guiding principle in every experience. Some of her clients were children who were not getting the right services to support them in the school environment.

“I realized that these weren’t just individual problems,” she says. “These are systemic problems, and one approach to solving them is public policy and legislation. Practicing law is a privilege, and we have a duty to use those skills for creating a better world.”