Good food, good company, good cheer. Combine all three and you have the Annual Pro Bono Awards Ceremony honoring law students who spent many hours serving underrepresented clients in our community and beyond this academic year.
On April 18th, students were recognized for their outstanding achievements volunteering for pro bono projects and performing critical legal work on behalf of low-income individuals in a variety of areas of law.
91% of current UCI Law students undertook pro bono work since they arrived at the law school and 223 of you worked on projects this year alone. This is truly a remarkable achievement. In addition, 33 members of the graduating class will receive their diplomas wearing a gold cord (Honors for 120 hours) or a gold sash (High Honors for 200 hours.) Many of you 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls even went above and beyond the call and exceeded the suggested pro bono goal for your year and for your tenure here.
Most Pro Bono Hours awards went to : 1L Kelly Galligan (91.75 hours); 2L Renee Amador (209 hours); and 3L Carly Edelstein (174 hours), with Carly also recognized for her cumulative hours of 366.5 performed during her entire law school career. Staggering numbers!
For her work establishing the Education Rights Clinic and guiding it successfully through it’s growing pains, Lauren Kaplan won the Pro Bono Independent Spirit Award.
Leadership awards also went to Mimi Anh (Family Law Clinics at Legal Aid Society of Orange County); Adam Barry (Homelessness Litigation challenging a camping ordinance); Carly Edelstein (Saturday Academy of Law); Kelsey Galanter (Domestic Violence Declarations); Leah Gasser-Ordaz and Zeenat Hassan (Services for Homeless and Those on the Verge/CARES); Jessica Hodgkins (Homeless Benefits Project); Lauren Kaplan (Streetlaw); Jesse Keyser (IRAP); Lauren McKay (Armory Intake Clinics for the Homeless); Andrea Smith (Native American Boarding School Healing Project); Meg Tanaka (Disabled and Elderly Benefits/SSI Clinics); and Brooke Weitzman (Advanced Healthcare Directives.)
Gold cords went to Christina Chen, Jeanne Detch, Tiffany Full, Reed Grantham, Sabyl Landrum, Suzie Lawson, Christine Luu, Danny Moss, Brian Murray, Brian Olney, Jaclyn Stahl, Phil Syers, Chris Taylor, Danila Toscano, Brad Walters, and Tom Wilson for performing at least 120 hours of pro bono work during their three years here.
And sashes will adorn the robes of Alexandra Alvarez, Adam Barry, Joe Boniwell, Jenn Chin, Carly Edelstein, Zeenat Hassan, Jen Henry, Jessica Hodgkins, Lauren Kaplan, Michael Klinger, Richard Nguyen, Marissa Oxman, Darren Kerstein, Emma Rosenberg, Andy Smith, Meg Tanaka, and Ed Wunch for reaching 200 or more hours of volunteer work.
Those who were recognized for Pro Bono Achievement Awards were too numerous to list here, so we extend our apologies but also our congratulations for your wonderful commitment and hard work helping those in our community find justice that otherwise would allude them. You’ve made a difference!
Thomas Edison said “(i)f we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.” Thank you UCI Law Students for astounding us all!