Stanford Law School Honors Public Interest Attorneys David Doniger and Christopher Ho with Public Service Awards


Publish Date:
November 6, 2007
Stanford Law School
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STANFORD, Calif., November 6, 2007—The John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School has awarded its National Public Service Award to David Doniger for his work representing the public interest on global warming and ozone depletion issues, and its Alumni Public Service Award to Christopher Ho ’87 for his advocacy on behalf of immigrants and low-income workers. Both recipients were honored last night at a ceremony on the Stanford campus.

The National Public Service Award is designated for an attorney whose work on behalf of the public has had national impact, and the Alumni Public Service Award is given annually to a Stanford Law School alumnus/a who has similarly engaged in public service and had a significant impact on the nation or community. The recipients were chosen by a committee of students, alumni, and faculty that included former Secretary of State Warren Christopher ’49; William Neukom ’67, president of the American Bar Association; Larry Kramer, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean; Lawrence C. Marshall, David & Stephanie Mills Director of Clinical Education and Associate Dean for Public Service and Clinical Education; and Susan J. Feathers, executive director of the Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law.

David Doniger, policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Climate Center, was honored for his pathbreaking work on Massachusetts v. EPA, the landmark April 2007 Supreme Court decision that found carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. In addition to playing a pivotal role in designing legal strategy and drafting briefs for the case, Doniger kept a 30-member coalition of states, cities, and environmental groups on course for four years through litigation before the D.C. Circuit and the Supreme Court. He is also the lead environmental lawyer in related cases defending California’s landmark standards for motor vehicle emissions of greenhouse gases, and has led NRDC’s effort to craft sound national global warming legislation. His concepts, published in Science last November, have found their way into the leading climate proposals introduced in the 110th Congress.

Christopher Ho ’87 is senior staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) in San Francisco. As director of LAS-ELC’s National Origin, Immigration, and Language Rights Program, Ho has pioneered legal challenges to “English-only” policies and arbitrary English-language proficiency requirements that are often covert means for employers to target immigrants. He was honored for his tireless work to prove a basic principle: that undocumented status does not mean these workers have given up all their rights under U.S. law, or that unscrupulous employers are free to exploit or mistreat them with impunity.

The awards were established in 2006 by the Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law as part of its mission to raise awareness about the importance of public service. The award is given annually to individuals who exemplify a commitment to public service, provide models of practice that are interesting and innovative, and who have made a specific contribution for that year to the public interest legal field.

“Being a lawyer carries with it a responsibility to serve the larger community,” said Dean Larry Kramer. “Recognizing role models like David and Christopher is one of numerous ways we’re educating students about the benefits of public service—its importance to society and its power to enrich them professionally.”

“These awards and the visionary lawyers they recognize further the Levin Center’s mission to inspire our students to pursue public service careers,” added Susan J. Feathers, executive director of the Levin Center.

About David Doniger

David Doniger is policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate Center, where he focuses on policies to cut global warming pollution from power plants, motor vehicles and other major industries, and leads NRDC’s work to complete the phase-out of chemicals that deplete the earth’s protective ozone layer. Doniger first began at NRDC in 1978 and worked on clean air issues for the next 14 years, helping to win the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments and the 1987 Montreal Protocol. Doniger rejoined NRDC in March 2001 after serving eight years in the Clinton administration, where he was counsel to the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s clean air program and later, the agency’s director of climate change policy. He also worked for one year at the Council on Environmental Quality. As part of his work with NRDC, Doniger heads a legal committee providing advice to the environmental coalition working for implementation of California’s clean car law (AB 1493).

About Christopher Ho

Christopher Ho is senior staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center in San Francisco, where his primary focus for over a decade has been on efforts to challenge and rectify workplace practices that disproportionately impact national origin minorities, particularly recent immigrants. Ho is a former board member of the East Palo Alto Community Law Project, the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, and Asians for Job Opportunities in the Bay Area, and is a past chair of the Human Rights Committee of the State Bar of California. He is currently a member of the board of directors of the Windcall Futures Project.

About the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law

The John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law is a program at Stanford Law School that aims—through courses, pro bono projects, public lectures, academic conferences, funding programs, and career services—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—regardless of ideology or political persuasion and regardless of whether they work as full-time public interest lawyers or work in business, a private law firm, or elsewhere.

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, and write books and articles for academic audiences, as well as the popular press. Along with offering traditional law school classes, the school has embraced new subjects and new ways of teaching. The school’s home page is located at


Amy Poftak
Assistant Director of Communications
Stanford Law School