Eva Jefferson Paterson encouraged some of UC Hastings’ newest graduates to be bold and use their law degrees to change the world for the better.
Paterson, who previously taught at UC Hastings, spoke Friday, May 11, 2012, at UC Hastings’ Public Interest Law Celebration, which honored students who excelled in clinical work and completed work for a social justice lawyering concentration. The celebration is also an acknowledgment of the huge body of community service provided by UC Hastings students, and honors student leaders.
Chancellor and Dean Frank H. Wu and Academic Dean Shauna Marshall spoke to graduates. Each encouraged grads to, in Wu’s words, “bring justice to the world.”
Paterson, a civil rights icon with three decades of silver oratory and aggressive, ground-breaking litigation, conveyed warmth and well wishes to the graduates. She also challenged them to take the reins of power handed to them now, without hesitation, and use it as a force for good.
Invoking Charles Hamilton Houston, she said, “Just because you are a new lawyer doesn’t mean you can’t use your mind and heart to change the law.”
“I have a deep sense of pride in what you are doing,” she told graduates, “and relief in knowing the fight will go on after us.”
Jennifer Kunz was named UC Hastings Clinical Student of the Year by CLEA, the Clinical Legal Education Association. In giving the award, Mai Lihn Spencer, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, said Kunz prevailed in a tough case, with five plaintiffs, a distant venue and difficult opposing counsel. Two of Kunz’s clients came to see her graduate May 13. “Jeni has been everything good about teaching,” Spencer said.
The Center for Gender and Refugee Studies honored the work of Molly F. Franck, Julia Heming and Kelsey Kofford. The Refugee and Human Rights Clinic honorees were Amelia Berthelsen, Stephanie Chan, Cristina Chavez, Alan Delamora, Adi Friedman, Alexandra Grayner, Carmen Hare, Ryan Harris, Shirin Hedayati, Kelsey Kofford, Katy Mann, Miguel Mexicano, Richard Park, Sodaba Samad, Peter Stark and Jennie Stephens-Romero.
The General Assistance Advocacy Project honored the work of two outstanding students, Shannon Roy and Caitlin Elizabeth Daniel.
The Hastings Civil Justice Clinic is the college’s largest on-site clinic. Students take the lead in representing low-income clients and resolving real-world problems. Several students who worked in the clinic this past school year were recognized for their work.
Jeffrey Ugai won for Outstanding Performance in the Community Economic Development Clinic. Monica Ault and Malinda Tuazon won for Outstanding Performance in the Community Group Advocacy Clinic. Jennifer Kunz and Amy McCowan were recognized for their Outstanding Performance in the Individual Representation Clinic.
Noemi Gallardo, who also served as president of Associated Students of UC Hastings, won for Outstanding Performance in the Mediation Clinic. Two graduates, Wesley Sheffield and Jennifer Takehana, were recognized for Outstanding Performance in multiple clinics.
Hastings Homeless Legal Services honored students who had volunteered to bring legal assistance to the homeless in San Francisco. Those students are Jessica Almendarez, Lauren Birnbaum, Brad Bowen, Sara Craig, Jill Harris, Rebecca Palm, Scott Rhodes, Matt Tonner, Ryan Tung, Jeff Ugai and Frances Valdez.
The Hastings Public Interest Law Foundation raises money to support UC Hastings grads who pursue careers in the public interest. This year, the foundation was able to make 22 grants. More than 100 individuals applied.
The foundation also honored the following students: Julia Heming, Nedda Black, Jenny Choi, Madihha Ahussain, Sarah Hwang, Sara Behmerwohld, Max Norris, Kendra Amick, Jacquelyn Gauthier, Peter Stark, S.C. Thomas Bennett, Ibtesam Salman, Rosailda Perez, Edris W.I. Rodriguez, Stacey Rosales, Jeannie Campbell-Urban, Henry Steinberg, Caitlin Elizabeth Daniel and Nadia Kayyali.
The Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal honored its staff. Journal Co-Editor Azedah Zohrabi recognized Aaron Lewis, Brian Hull, Alison Cordova, Blake Atkerson, Brenda L. Rosales, Britany Folsom, Ike Kaludi, Jason Thomas, Jennella Sambour, Maria Garcia, May Shin, Molly F. Franck, Nadia Kayyali, Rosailda Perez, S.C. Thomas Bennett, Samuel Crary, Andrew R. Silva, Anne Su, Eli S. Contreras and Nayeli Maxson.
3L Kate Walsham, the incoming editor of the Hastings Women’s Law Journal, honored the scholarship and community work , which this year included a symposium on women’s health issues, of Aishlin P. Hicks, Talia Saypoff, Steven Tang, Hillary Hansen, Jillian Grinnell, Dominique Ladomato, Alejandra Leon, Sanaz Yamin, Inna Volkova and Anita Pandhoh.
The UC Hastings chapter of the National Lawyer’s Guild, the country’s first integrated bar association, honored William Pasley and Nadia Kayyali.
Law Students for Reproductive Justice won an award for the most-improved student organization. It honored Sarah Prakapas Gosling and Hillary Hansen.
UC Hastings offers a concentrated program of study in Social Justice Lawyering for students interested in devoting their careers to public service and the pursuit of social justice. In addition to taking a yearlong seminar in their second year, concentration students also enroll in at least one clinical course or externship, and take at least one class in negotiation and one that explores the role of race in U.S. society.
The 2012 Social Justice Lawyering Concentration graduates are Jasmine Berndt, Nedda Black, Molly F. Franck, Christine F. Ness, Stacey Rosales, Wesley Sheffield, Peter Stark, Jesse Stout, Jennifer Takehana, Mara Thomas, S.C. Thomas Bennett, Cory Turner, John B. Wright and Judy Yang.
The Public Interest Celebration honors the commitment and incredible community work provided by UC Hastings students, said Fairuz Abdullah, Associate Director for Public Interest, Clerkship, and LLM Programs.
“Our students have many chances to impact people’s lives while they are in school,” she said. “UC Hastings students don’t need to wait until they graduate from law school to become effective advocates.”