Accolades: Class of 2021 Breaks Pro Bono Record

Students, Faculty Honored With Awards, Fellowships
UVA Law School

Photo by Robert Llewellyn

June 16, 2021

Members of the University of Virginia School of Law community have recently been singled out for excellence. Among the accolades, members of the Class of 2021 volunteered 17,113 pro bono hours during their time in law school, breaking a UVA Law record.

In total, about 70% of the class, or 230 graduates, worked pro bono, and 102 completed the Pro Bono Challenge, which encourages students to contribute 75 hours or more of pro bono during their three years at the Law School.

Last year, 91 students in the graduating class met the challenge. Students who do so are honored at commencement and receive a certificate of recognition.

“This class was highly motivated and started strong as 1Ls, they were inspired by the pandemic and associated legal emergencies to volunteer, and we were able to respond by ramping up our remote offerings,” said Kimberly Emery, assistant dean for pro bono and public interest.

Andrew Broaddus, assistant director of public service, added that while the class’ third-year numbers were not a significant departure from past years, the fact that students maintained them during the COVID-19 pandemic was impressive.

Ross Named Berlin Prize Fellow

Bertrall RossAs a Berlin Prize Fellow during the fall, incoming professor Bertrall Ross will trace evolving and competing conceptions of self-government, culminating in the 15th Amendment. The American Academy in Berlin granted 22 Berlin Prizes on May 12, for fall 2021 and spring 2022. The academy awards the prize annually to U.S.-based scholars, writers, composers and artists who represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields, according to the academy’s website. Fellows spend a semester at the academy’s Hans Arnhold Center.

Ross, whose work explores why marginalized people lack power in U.S. democracy, will join the UVA Law faculty in the fall from the University of California, Berkeley.

ICA Taps Livermore as Fellow

Professor Michael Livermore has been named a fellow at the Intercontinental Academia. The ICA seeks to create a global network of future research leaders in which scholars will work together on paradigm‐shifting cross‐disciplinary research. The fourth edition of the ICA will explore the complementarities between artificial intelligence and neuro/cognitive-science.

Dominique FentonGrad Earns Public Interest Award

Dominique Fenton ’21 received an Equal Justice Works Regional Public Interest Award, given this year to eight law students nationwide for their exemplary commitment to public interest law and pro bono work. EJW announced the winners May 6, and Fenton represented the South Region. The EJW National Advisory Committee selected recipients from among 75 applications, with criteria including providing outstanding service through law clinics, volunteer work, internships, extracurricular projects and other initiatives.

Award Named for Howard

Dick HowardA new Virginia History Day award for grade school students honors Professor A. E. Dick Howard ’61 and his contributions to drafting and ratifying Virginia’s 1971 Constitution. Sponsored by the John Marshall Center for Constitutional History & Civics, the A. E. Dick Howard Prize in Virginia Constitutional History recognizes a paper that demonstrates superior understanding of Virginia’s constitutional tradition, and how the rights and duties of citizens or of government have changed over time. The Virginia Museum of History & Culture presented the awards May 4. Howard is a former member of the John Marshall Center’s board and was executive director of Virginia’s Commission on Constitutional Revision.

In addition, Gov. Ralph Northam reappointed Howard to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation board of trustees on May 21.

Grad’s Paper Explores UVA Case, Scalia

A new paper by Rachael Jones ’21 analyzes Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of University of Virginia, a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that held state universities cannot withhold funding from student religious groups if it’s provided to similar secular ones. “Rosenbergers Unexplored History” was published May 10 in the Journal of Supreme Court History. In part, Jones examines how Justice Antonin Scalia, a former Law School professor, rejected the Thomas Jefferson Award in a letter to UVA President Robert O’Neil in 1989 and criticized the University for what he saw as unfair treatment of his children’s applications.
 

 
ALI Adopts Harmon’s Draft

Rachel HarmonAmerican Law Institute members approved a tentative draft of its project Principle of the Law, Policing, co-authored by Professor Rachel Harmon, at the 2021 annual meeting on May 18. Principles of the Law, Policing, offers best practices on thorny legal issues such as searches and use of force. Tentative drafts approved by ALI’s membership are the official position of ALI and may be cited as such.

Hayley HahnGrad Wins Writing Contest

Hayley Hahn ’21 won the Harvard Law School Political Economy Association’s Law and Political Economy Writing Prize for her paper “Stripping the Gears of White Supremacy: A Call to Abate Reliance on Court Fines & Fees and Revitalize State and Local Taxation.” The competition encourages original research and writing addressing the role of law in contemporary capitalism. The winning entry receives a prize of $2,000 and priority consideration for publication in the Journal of Law and Political Economy. In 2020, Hahn won the Founding Fathers Religious Liberty Student Writing Competition for her paper “God is Red, Land is Dead? A Call to Reject the Lyng Line of Cases.”

Chris Yarrell ’23 received an honorable mention for his paper “The Emperor Still Has No Clothes: Revisiting Rodriguez and the Federal Role in Education.”
 

 
Scholars Program Recruits Students

Erin Magoffie ’23 and Cyrus Oveissi ’23 will work at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld this summer as Akin Gump/Robert Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholars. Magoffie will work in the Houston office and Oveissi in the New York office. The 12 participants will work with Akin Gump clients such as Citigroup, Facebook, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Raytheon/RTX and Volkswagen, and will be slated to receive an offer to join the firm’s second-year summer associate program in 2022. Participants in the scholars program also receive a $25,000 scholarship to use toward their law school costs.

Student Receives Firm’s Scholarship

Genesis MooreGenesis Moore ’23 was named a recipient of the BakerHostetler Paul D. White Scholarship on April 29. Open to any second-year law student, successful applicants receive an award of up to $25,000, as well as a position in the BakerHostetler summer associate program. Named for the firm’s first minority partner, the scholarship helps provide minority law students with experience early in their careers.

Public Law Fellow Named

Ida AbhariIda Abhari ’23 was named one of six 2021 Public Law Fellows by Renne Public Law Group. The program introduces law students to local government advocacy. According to a statement on Renne’s website, Abhari is interested in civil rights, workers’ rights and immigration, and how these rights are localized and realized at the city and state level.

Student Contributes to Housing Report

Samira Nematollahi ’23 contributed to a Charlottesville Low-Income Housing Coalition report examining how current housing development policy has hurt low-income and Black residents. “Why Building More Market-Rate Housing Will Not Solve Charlottesville’s Housing Crisis,” released in April, concludes that intentionally building and supporting affordable housing is “the only option” to increase the affordable and available housing stock for all income levels and address historically racist housing policies.
 

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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