UC Hastings College of the Law had reason to rejoice with the Public Interest Celebration, an annual recognition of UC Hastings students with an interest in advancing social justice. In attendance were many UC Hastings students, faculty, staff and leadership all eager to praise the wonderful work being done in the various Community Justice Clinics. The Public interest awards are nominated by UC Hastings community members and are a recognition for outstanding achievement in each of our in-house clinics. There were 15 different awards given out including those that recognized pro bono hours with the Wiley Manual Pro Bono Awards and the AT&T Pro Bono Award.
“The experiences and volunteer opportunities I have had with the General Assistance Advocacy Project, Hastings Students for Immigrants’ Rights, and the California Appellate Project have by far been my most meaningful experiences during my time at UC Hastings” said AT&T Pro Bono Award recipient Brook Acevedo ’16.
The Public Interest Awards are given to recipients who have demonstrated an exemplary record of public interest service during the 2015-2016 academic year, or throughout their law school career have accumulated social justice contributions that merit acknowledgement. This can include leadership in organizing social justice or public interest campus event, creating an innovative social justice project or showing consistent representation for a voice of conscience in student organization meetings.
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi ’81 was the keynote speaker and he talked about the value of individuals in the legal profession serving the public interest. He remarked on the lessons that he learned while studying UC Hastings and how it has guided him in his work as the Public Defender of the City & County of San Francisco.
“The Pubic Interest Celebration is important because we acknowledge the tremendous work of our students to make the world a better place” said Alina Ball, Associate Professor of Law & founding director of the Social Enterprise & Economic Empowerment Clinic at UC Hastings.
This year has also marked the introduction of the Nancy Stuart Public Interest Fund, which was established to continue the work of retiring Associate Dean and UC Hastings alumna, Nancy Stuart, in advancing social justice work within the UC Hastings community.
“I am humbled by the honor that the school and my colleagues gave given me”, said Nancy Stuart, retiring Associate Dean of Experiential Learning. “I am thrilled that the fund will support students who are committed to serving the public and addressing access to justice for marginalized communities.”
The fund provides scholarships to rising UC Hastings students with a demonstrated record of public interest and social justice commitment. In addition to academic scholarships, the fund will also provide grants to graduating students to reduce financial burdens while studying for the Bar Exam.
The full list of awardees:
WILEY W. MANUEL HONOREES
Sang Bum Park
AT&T PRO BONO AWARD
Outstanding Performance in the Individual Representation Clinic
Outstanding Performance in the Liberty, Security and Technology Clinic
Outstanding Performance in the Mediation Clinic
Outstanding Performance in the Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors Clinic
Outstanding Performance in the Social Enterprise & Economic Empowerment Clinic
Outstanding Performance in the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic
Outstanding Performance in Multiple Clinics
Clinical Legal Education Association – CLEA Outstanding Student Award
Public Interest Awards
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies 2016 Volunteers
Refugee and Human Rights 2016 Graduates
Thereza Bitencourt Marcondes
Lawyers for America 2016 Honorees
Jency Butler, Contra Costa County DA
Jessica Guest, Contra Costa County DA
Ali Nicolette, Disability Rights California
Anthony Rodriguez, Solano County PD
Ariel Toran, Contra Costa County PD
Social Justice Lawyering 2016 Graduates
Every day, UC Hastings renowned clinical programs fuse the powers of an innovative classroom with experiential learning opportunities in our unique location in the City of San Francisco to educate and inspire the country’s future lawyers, legislators, mediators, judges, and partners in business. You can find more information on all of UC Hastings Clinical Programs.