Dickinson Law students recognized for public service and pro bono activities in the community
Legal clinics at Bethesda Mission. Tax preparation for low-income community members. An international project to fight female genital mutilation. Research assistance on an asylum case. First-, second- and third-year Dickinson Law students were recognized for their commitment to service throughout the 2017-18 academic year during a ceremony on Friday, May 11 at Lewis Katz Hall.
“Dickinson Law creates a culture of service by engaging our students in the community,” said Dickinson Law Dean and Director of the Miller Center for Public Interest Law and Advocacy Gary S. Gildin. “All lawyers, and therefore law students, have a professional obligation to provide legal assistance to the underrepresented, which is ironically one of the most selfish things a lawyer can do.”
The Miller Center for Public Interest Law and Advocacy is the hub of public interest law at Dickinson Law. The Center creates practice experiences for students through pro bono service and provides ongoing support for public interest practitioners through training and resources. Many serve the public and advocate for the underrepresented through transactional work, policy making, and administrative and judicial proceedings. Students work for international, national or regional nonprofit organizations or for government entities at the federal, state or local levels.
The following students were recognized:
Erin Varley ’18 was named the Miller Center Advocate of the Year for her outstanding participation in pro bono activities, public interest summer work and curricular opportunities, and leadership amongst fellow students in public interest and pro bono activities. During her three years at Dickinson Law, Varley completed an estimated 2,440 hours of public interest, pro bono and community service.
Lindsay Daniels ’18, Emma Jobinpicard ’18, Marissa Lawall ’18, Marcus Spisso ’19 and Alexia Tomlinson ’18 were named Miller Center Distinguished Advocates for their commitment to public interest through public interest and pro bono summer jobs, curricular opportunities and pro bono activities. These students provided more than 6,000 combined hours of pro bono, public interest and community service during their time at Dickinson Law.
Ian Brinkman ’19, Bob Gavin ’20, Jill Gorman ’20, Patrick Hanley ’20, Emma Jobinpicard ’18, Trey Manning ’20, Alisa Peterson ’20, Tyler Ritchie ’20, Marcus Spisso ’19 and Erin Varley ’18 were named Pro Bono Advocates for providing at least 10 hours of free, supervised legal assistance to needy or vulnerable members of the community. Together, the Pro Bono Advocates provided more than 300 hours of pro bono service.
Richard Hill III ’18 received the Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student Award for his demonstrated excellence in a clinical course and positive contributions to the clinical community, having provided more than 350 hours of service as part of Dickinson Law’s Children’s Advocacy Clinic. Under the supervision of Clinic Director and Professor of Clinical Law Lucy Johnston-Walsh, law students represent children who are abused or neglected, as well as those involved in other civil court actions such as adoption, domestic violence and custody matters.
“Each of these students has demonstrated a commitment to using their legal knowledge to serve the community at large through public interest and pro bono activities,” said Lauren Hartley Martin ‘15, assistant director of the Miller Center for Public Interest Law and Advocacy. “By providing a myriad of opportunities to participate in public interest lawyering and pro bono activities during their law school careers, we hope to turn their interest in serving their community into a significant part of their legal career.”
Children’s Advocacy Clinic Director and Professor of Clinical Law Lucy Johnston-Walsh presented the Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student Award to Richard Hill ’18 for his demonstrated excellence in a clinical course and positive contributions to the clinical community. Hill provided more than 350 hours of service as part of the Children’s Advocacy Clinic during his third year of law school.