This fall, Stanford Law School’s John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law honored two exceptional attorneys for their commitment to public service. Nayna Gupta, JD ‘13, associate director of policy at the National Immigrant Justice Center, received the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award. Silvia R. Argueta, executive director at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, received the Stanford Law School (SLS) National Public Service Award.
The Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award recognizes an alumnus/a whose outstanding work has advanced justice and social change in the lives of vulnerable populations on a community, national, or international level. The SLS National Public Service Award honors attorneys whose commitment to public service has had a national impact.
The October 17th dinner at Paul Brest Hall marked the Levin Center’s first in-person public service awards ceremony in three years. “It is such a joy to see everyone here in this room together and to feel the power of the public interest and public service community at Stanford Law School,” said Jenny Martinez, the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and dean of Stanford Law School.
Remembering Terry Levin
In her opening remarks, Levin Center Executive Director Anna Wang acknowledged the recent passing of Terry Levin who co-founded the center in 2007 with her husband, John Levin, JD ‘73. “Stanford Law would not be what it is today without the Levin Center and the ambitious vision that Terry and John laid out for us,” Wang said. Levin passed away on August 1, 2022. Levin earned her undergraduate degree in human biology from Stanford University in 1974 and master’s degree in physical therapy, also from Stanford, in 1981. She was a long-time volunteer for Stanford and served on the Overseas Studies Council, the Stanford Associates’ Board of Governors, and the Stanford Challenge Leadership Council.
Nayna Gupta | Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award Recipient
Diane Chin, associate dean, public service and public interest law, introduced Miles L. Rubin Award winner Nayna Gupta, noting Gupta’s many leadership roles while she was a Stanford Law School student and the “fierceness and compassion” that Gupta has brought to her work in education equity, racial justice and immigrant rights. Gupta “brings a wisdom about how policy formulation can and should happen and how policy formation and strategy must always have at its heart the impact that it will have on individuals,” Chin said. “She has a comprehensive approach to moving the needle on behalf of immigrants who are in detention, who have been wrongfully deported and who interact with the criminal legal system.”
Nayna Gupta, Associate Director of Policy at the National Immigrant Justice Center, graduated from Stanford Law School in 2013 and went to work as a judicial law clerk in the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Alabama. She went on to work at the ACLU of Northern California as staff attorney and racial justice fellow, and then later, as an immigration defense attorney at the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office. She has been in her current role at the National Immigrant Justice Center since March of 2020. The center aids immigrants who have been victims of wrongful deportation along with advocating for policy reform.
Silvia Argueta | National Public Service Award Recipient
Martinez introduced National Public Service Award winner Argueta. “Because of her leadership, commitment, and wisdom, [the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles] stood at the forefront of serving those in Los Angeles who were fighting to ensure that their most fundamental rights to healthcare, housing, education, and employment benefits and basic needs were supported by lawyers to navigate complicated systems and bureaucracies,” said Martinez about Argueta and her work.
Silvia Argueta, the Executive Director at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, graduated from UC Hastings College of Law in 1989 and went on to work at the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California where she worked on civil rights policy and litigation. She then worked as the staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund before joining the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles in 1999. LAFLA provides legal services to low-income individuals in the Los Angeles area.
About the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law
The mission of the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School is – through courses, research, pro bono projects, public lectures, academic conferences, funding programs and career development – to make public service a pervasive part of every law student’s experience and ultimately help shape the values that students take into their careers. It also engages in programming and research that support development of the public interest legal community to increase access to justice.
About Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.