The Boston University School of Law community has always exhibited a profound passion for and commitment to public service. Members of our faculty are dedicated to inculcating in students an appreciation for the importance of public service, and our students find their own areas of interest by participating in one or more of the many programs available at BU Law.
Just a few weeks ago, during spring break 2014, sixty-two BU Law students traveled to nine cities on pro bono service trips. Students provided legal assistance at a variety of nonprofit organizations in Boston; Biloxi, MS; Harlingen, TX; Los Angeles; Detroit; New Orleans; and other cities around the country. Students worked on a broad range of legal issues – from claims arising from Hurricane Katrina and the Deep Horizon oil spill to challenges to mortgage foreclosure actions to death penalty and immigration detention cases, just to name a few!
On my own “spring break,” I traveled to Los Angeles and San Diego, meeting with alumni in LA and Orange County, and attending an ABA meeting. I was delighted to have dinner with our two 1L students working in LA as part of our pro bono service trips. We were joined by two young alums – one in large firm practice and one working for a public interest organization at a job he obtained as a result of BU Law’s post-graduate fellowship program.
The public service work students perform while at BU Law inevitably continues when they leave the law tower, and we are always proud to recognize alumni for continuing to demonstrate their passion for public service. In February, we honored three of our distinguished alumni that have gone above and beyond in their public service work: Betsy Plevan, Seymour James, Jr. and Glenn Lau-Kee have all served or will serve as presidents of the New York City or State Bar and have all excelled in promoting the ideals of public service through their practices and bar association activities.
We are also delighted to be honoring alum Nina Zolt (’76) at our upcoming DC Public Service reception on April 9 at 6pm at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Rotunda. Nina has spent the last 17 years helping children around the world develop and refine their reading skills. Her organization, In2Books, pairs adult volunteers with 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who read and exchange ideas about books online.
Another upcoming event focused on public service is the Public Interest Project Auction on April 3 at 6pm at the GSU Metcalf Ballroom. PIP raises money to fund law students who are pursuing public interest work during the summer. Additionally, at the BU Law Year End Pro Bono Celebration on April 7 at 6pm in Barristers Hall, we will honor alumni Avner Shapiro (’94) and Angela Gomes (’05) for their commitment to pro bono and public service. We will also recognize our 3L and LLM students who have completed the pro bono pledge.
To top it all off, I am proud to announce that two of our 3Ls, Libby Hasse and Elizabeth McIntyre, were recently named Equal Justice Works Fellows. Beginning in the fall, Libby will be working at the Tahririh Justice Center in Houston, TX, while Elizabeth will be working at Greater Boston Legal Services.
These students and alumni epitomize the spirit of BU Law and the best of the legal profession. We are grateful to their contributions to improving the nation and, indeed, the world, through public service.