The Public Interest Celebration is an annual event celebrating the social justice work students do in and alongside the community during the year.

After a two year hiatus, this year’s Public Interest Celebration took place on May 20, 2022 on the UC Hastings Law campus, with some attending virtually. Faculty, staff, students, and their friends and family, joined together to recognize students who made tremendous impacts on the community through their work in our top-ranked clinics, student organizations, externship programs, and the pro bono program.

Associate Dean for Experiential Learning, Co-Director of Public Interest and the Social Justice Center, and Clinical Professor of Law, Gail Silverstein hosted this year’s event. Professor Silverstein also teaches the Mediation Clinic for the Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (CNDR).

Student speakers included Allen Sin, Rosamaria Cavalho, Salina Isaq, and Nikayla Johnson, sharing their paths during law school, and commitment to public service work. Congrats to all the students in our programs, and social justice concentrators!

Some highlights from 2022:

  • In Hastings’ in-house clinics, 116 students engaged in legal work, serving more than 240 clients. They logged more than 18,000 service hours, amounting to over $2.3 million dollars of free legal services.
  • In our field placement clinics and externships, approx. 150 students participated logging over 30,000 hours providing approx. $3.9 million in legal services to nonprofits or government offices.
  • 35 judicial externs logged over 16,000 hours.

In the words of Professor Silverstein:

We hope that you will find ways to serve others and the cause of justice throughout your career. It may be hard and require your courage, and it likely will not reward you with riches, but it is unquestionably vital work.

There’s a Jewish proverb that says “I ask not for a lighter burden, but broader shoulders.” And while lawyers will always demand a lighter burden, today’s celebration shows you how we broaden our shoulders to face our social challenges: we come together, we work together, we nurture the next generation, we celebrate our work, we rest, we eat, and then we go out there tougher, stronger as we fight for justice.

Video recording available on UCH Intranet MyHastings