Compiled by Matthew Gorney
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, Vermont Law School students, staff, and faculty assisted in the cleanup of floodwater damaged areas near South Royalton, Vermont. The students also delivered supplies, including beds and food. In addition to the cleanup and aid, two of the school’s clinics helped victims in other ways. The South Royalton Legal Clinic and the Land Use Clinic assisted people in filling out FEMA applications.
In June, two City University of New York School of Law at Queens College students were awarded the 2011 Joseph Doherty Civil Rights Fellowship. Leila Shifteh and Jaclyn Sheltry, both members of the class of 2013, received the fellowship presented annually by the CUNY Irish Law Students Association. The fellowship helps students with an interest in civil rights both inside and outside of the United States. Over the summer, Shifteh interned with the Helsinki Citizens Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey, and Sheltry interned at AkiDwa in Dublin, Ireland.
University of Maryland School of Law 3L Kirsten Hiera won third place at the National Advocates for Pregnant Women annual writing competition for law students. Written as part of the school’s Health and International Human Rights Seminar, Hiera’s essay “assert[ed] that unnecessary, but voluntary and court-ordered obstetric interventions, particularly c-sections, violate international human rights law.”
Qasim Rashid, a 3L at the University of Richmond School of Law, won a 2011 Law Student Diversity Scholarship from the Defense Research Institute (DRI). The DRI is the largest international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation. Rashid traveled to Chicago in June to receive this award. He was awarded the $10,000 scholarship in recognition of his demonstrated academic excellence, service to the legal profession and community, and service to the cause of diversity.
Barry University School of Law opened its new Legal Advocacy Center building in July in Orlando. The 32,400-square-foot building contains offices, two seminar rooms, two large classrooms, and five moot court courtrooms. “The addition of the Legal Advocacy Center on our campus is integral to the Barry Law School’s mission to serve as a focal point for legal resources, services and knowledge in Central Florida,” said Leticia M. Diaz, dean of the Barry Law School. “We will be able to host major legal events, including moot court and trial team competitions that will showcase our championship-caliber teams. In addition, our students and faculty will benefit greatly from the new classrooms and additional courtrooms, and the center blends in well with the intimate character of our campus.”
In September, Wayne State University Law School student Stephanie Karisny won the 2011 Environmental Law Essay Contest sponsored by the State Bar of Michigan’s Environmental Law Section. Karisny won a $2,000 award for her piece titled “Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan: Reassessing State Regulations in Light of New Drilling in the Collingwood and Utica Shales.” Fellow Wayne State Law student Margaret Stalker won third place in the contest for her essay titled “The Asian Carp Invasion: The Supreme Court’s Failure to Protect the Great Lakes.” For third place, Stalker won $500.
More than 200 first-year University of Wisconsin Law School students participated in a community service project on August 31. The students teamed with Project Linus to make handmade blankets and cards for ill or traumatized children and teens. Nearly 300 blankets had been completed by the end of the service day. “Community Outreach Day is a reminder that law is a service profession,” said Kimberly Frank, student services coordinator at the law school.
Students in Creighton University School of Law’s inaugural Master of Science in Government Organization and Leadership class have spent the first half of the school year participating in a semester-long externship in Washingon, D.C. The objective of the program is “to prepare students to assume leadership positions in government counsel offices, agency legal advisory roles, and related operations” at both the state and the federal level. The externship is one of the program’s requirements.
Thomas Jefferson School of Law student Sean Smith won the Burton Award for Distinguished Writing. The Burton Award is designed to reward great achievements in law, mainly by rewarding legal writing. Smith wrote about the juvenile justice system in “Sealing Up the Problem of California’s ‘One Strike and You’re Out’ Approach for Serious Juvenile Offenders.” Smith says he plans to get involved in Juvenile Justice reform in after graduation.
Katelyn Weishaar, a third-year student Washburn University School of Law, won the 2011 Medal of Excellence in Bankruptcy from the American Bankruptcy Institute in September. Nominated by Washburn Professor Ronald Griffin, Weishaar received a Certificate of Excellence along with her medal. The American Bankruptcy Institute began awarding the Medal of Excellence in 1997 and honors top students in bankruptcy courses at each participating school.
Yahya Thabit, a 3L at the University of the District of Columbia–David A. Clarke School of Law, won the Joseph L. Rauh Top Clinic Performer Scholarship. The full-tuition scholarship is given to a rising 3L who is deemed a top performer and who earned the top grade in the clinic. Thabit won for his work as a part of the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic. Also, Thabit spent his summer interning as a writer and researcher for the Honorable Senior Judge Arthur Burnett Sr. at the National African American Drug Policy Coalition.
The Lewis and Clark Law School Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center (PEAC) came to a settlement with Portland Gas and Electric (PGE) in August. As part of the settlement, the utility must significantly reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, pay $2.5 million into a charitable trust directed at habitat and air protection, and end coal burning at the PGE’s Boardman plant by the end of 2020, according to a release on the school’s website. The original lawsuit was filed by the school’s PEAC in 2008 and, in the years since then, has given about 25 Lewis and law students practical experience.
Cassandra McCrae, a first-year law student at the University of Texas School of Law, was recently awarded the Equal Justice Scholarship. The seventh time it has been awarded, the scholarship pays “tuition and fees for three years of legal study.” As part of the scholarship, McCrae committed to three years of full-time work providing low-income individuals with legal services at a nonprofit organization.
University of California–Hastings College of Law 3L Sterling Johnson won the inaugural Diverse Voices Fellowship because of his commitment to public service. The fellowship is sponsored by the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom and the Barrister’s Club Diversity Committee. “His ongoing commitment to public service means a great deal to San Francisco and the legal community,” said Frank Wu, UC Hastings chancellor and dean. “This recognition reflects that value and brings pride to UC Hastings College of the Law.”
AmeriCorp Equal Justice Works selected Camille Borg, a 3L at Brigham Young University–J. Reuben Clark Law School, as a 2011 Summer Corps Standout Award recipient. She was one of six winners. Borg’s “exemplary work” as a legal extern at Mosaic Family Services in Dallas along with “her creative innovation and commitment to advancing the public interest” earned her the award. During her externship, Borg finished 300 hours of work as a volunteer.
To find out which ABA Law Student Division circuit your school is in, read about your circuit, and get contact info for your circuit governor, visit the Division’s website. To report news from your school, e-mail your circuit governor and firstname.lastname@example.org.