Amber Strickland ’17 Wins Virginia State Bar Oliver White Hill Award

Only One Student Who Excels in Public Service Is Chosen for Honor Each Year
Amber Strickland

Amber Strickland has made pro bono her passion during her three years at UVA Law.

May 16, 2017

Amber Strickland, a third-year law student at the University of Virginia School of Law, has won the Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award.

The award, sponsored by the Virginia State Bar, recognizes extraordinary law student achievement in uncompensated and under-compensated public service work. Only one student in the state is awarded the prize each year. Strickland, during her time at UVA Law, more than doubled the 100 hours of uncompensated, voluntary pro bono the award requires for consideration.

Despite her hard work, "I was incredibly shocked to find out that I had been selected for the award," Strickland said. Among her pro bono involvements, she participated in the Virginia Innocence Project Pro Bono Clinic and two service trips with the Black Law Students Association.

Strickland said it helped that she knew from the get-go that she wanted to pursue a career in public service as a prosecutor. After graduation, she will join the Manhattan District Attorney's Office as an assistant district attorney.

Professor Josh Bowers, who co-directs the Program in Law and Public Service, was one of Strickland's nominators for the award.

"Amber is a pioneer, a leader and a team player — a student whose efforts and achievements have elevated our institution," Bowers said. "She is much more than an excellent student and a committed public servant. She is a wonderful and decent person, and I am confident that she’s going to be a prosecutor of the same conscience, character and caliber.

"Really, there are not enough superlatives to adequately describe her."

Past UVA Law recipients of the award include Angela Ciolfi '03 (also the bar's winner this year of the Virginia Legal Aid Award), Ryan Almstead '06 and Salima Burke '12.

The Virginia State Bar is a state agency that seeks to protect the public by educating and assisting lawyers so that they can practice ethically and competently. The agency also serves as a disciplinary body for those who violate the Supreme Court's Rules of Professional Conduct.

The award is administered by the bar's Special Committee on Access to Legal Services. It was established in 2002 to honor the life of its namesake Oliver Hill, the famed civil rights attorney who was from Richmond.

Strickland will receive the award during the Virginia State Bar's annual meeting June 16.

In the News

UVA Law Student Honored for Pro Bono Work (CBS 19)
School Suspensions, License Revocation Among Issues Earning Ciolfi High Honor (The Daily Progress)

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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