STANFORD, Calif., November 11, 2008—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 Shannon Price Minter for his advocacy on behalf of same-sex couples and its Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award to Julia R. Wilson for her efforts to improve low-income Californians’ access to legal services. Both recipients, along with Miles L. Rubin, for whom the Alumni Public Service Award was recently renamed, were honored last night at a ceremony on the Stanford campus.
“It’s a privilege to recognize Shannon and Julia, who serve as powerful examples to our students of how lawyers can make meaningful contributions to society through public service,” said Susan J. Feathers, executive director of the Levin Center.
The National Public Service Award is designated for an attorney whose work on behalf of the public has had national impact, and the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award is given to a Stanford Law School alumnus/a who has demonstrated courage in challenging social inequity and promoting positive solutions for social change. 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.
Shannon Price Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), was recognized for his historic advocacy as lead counsel for same-sex couples in In re Marriage Cases, which declared marriage a constitutional right for everyone in the state of California, regardless of sexual orientation. Minter is part of the legal team challenging the validity of Proposition 8, a measure to ban same-sex marriage passed by voters last Tuesday. Minter was also instrumental in reaching a settlement for NCLR client Sharon Smith, the first same-sex partner in the country to be recognized as a surviving spouse in a wrongful death suit. Minter has authored numerous articles and books on LGBT legal issues, including Transgender Rights and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Family Law. He serves on the American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, as well as the boards of Equality California and the Transgender Law & Policy Institute.
Julia R. Wilson, a 1998 graduate of Stanford Law, was honored for her extraordinary work on behalf of the legal services community. As executive director of the Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC) and the Public Interest Clearinghouse (PIC), Wilson is responsible for leading statewide advocacy efforts, undertaking strategic planning initiatives, and mobilizing the California legal community to provide legal services to low-income individuals. Recent accomplishments include implementing a state bill that makes it easier for attorneys to donate money to legal services and engaging more than 200 law students in providing assistance to nearly 2500 clients. Wilson is a member of the State Bar of California’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services and is active in the Bench Bar Coalition and the California Access to Justice Commission.
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.
The Alumni Public Service award was renamed the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award this year, thanks to a gift from Rubin’s children Jon, Kim, Richard, and Todd. Miles L. Rubin, a 1952 SLS graduate and chairman and founder of Miles Electric Vehicle, has a long history of supporting efforts in the public interest—from developing electric vehicles that produce zero emissions to creating Energy Action, an advocacy group dedicated to American energy independence. He has remained active in the law school, and together with Nancy, established the Miles and Nancy Rubin Stanford Loan Repayment Assistance Fund for law graduates entering public service.
“These awards reflect Stanford Law’s fundamental values—that public service should be a central part of students’ lives, whatever their career paths, and an essential part of the school’s culture,” said Larry Kramer, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean.“We are especially grateful to the Rubin family for their continued support of these goals.”
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 [www.law.stanford.edu] 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.
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