Largest Number of Graduates with Pro Bono Service Distinction in 14-Year History of Program
In a ceremony on May 16, Stanford Law School (SLS) students were honored for their contributions in public interest law at a ceremony attended by nearly 100 faculty, staff and students.
In addition, the law school acknowledged and celebrated the 20 graduating students and recent alumni who were awarded prestigious post-graduate fellowships or government honors positions.
A total of 120 graduating students—the largest number in the program’s 14-year history—were recognized for Pro Bono Distinction, and three students were presented with individual awards for their exceptional work.
The Deborah L. Rhode Public Interest Award was presented by Professor Rhode to Sophie Hart, JD ’17 and Annick Jordan, JD ’17. The Lisa M. Schnitzer Memorial Scholarship was presented by Morgan Lewis, JD ’18, last year’s recipient, to Rachel Green, JD ’19.
“We are deeply proud of our graduates who dedicate themselves to making the world a better place, and we work to inculcate that spirit of responsibility to others in all of our students,” said Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean M. Elizabeth Magill. “This year’s awards ceremony is a great occasion to see that spirit, both in the recognition of our award winners who stand out and make us all proud, and also to celebrate the veritable army of Stanford Law students who have obtained pro bono distinction.”
Deborah L. Rhode Public Interest Award
The Deborah L. Rhode Public Interest Award recognizes graduating students whose activities have resulted in outstanding contributions to underrepresented groups or public interest causes outside of Stanford Law School and/or outstanding public service within the law school.
This year, the selection committee—comprised entirely of alumni who are past Rhode Award winners—chose two recipients.
Sophie Hart, JD ’17 – Sophie will clerk on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and hopes to land in a public defender’s office or prisoners’ rights organization after her clerkship. At SLS, Sophie committed herself to studying and reforming the criminal justice system through both research and client work with the Criminal Defense Clinic and the Stanford Justice Advocacy Project. Sophie also co-founded the Stanford Prisoner Advocacy & Resource Coalition. She has also held leadership roles in Women of Stanford Law, Shaking the Foundations, and the Stanford Law Review.
Annick Jordan, JD ’17– Annick will begin her career as a public defender in New Orleans, having received the Stanford Criminal Defense Fellowship. From her first quarter at SLS, Annick has been a leader in advocating for more support for public interest and social justice law and empowering her fellow students. Annick has worked with the policy lab, Criminal Defense Clinic, and the International Human Rights Clinic. For the past two years, Annick has co-led the Stanford Native American Law Students Association and organized its annual Indian Law Conference. She also has been a leader in the Black Graduate Student Association, Women of Color Collective, First Person, Stanford Critical Law Society, the Stanford Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and the SLS Immigration Pro Bono Project. She also helped co-found a new pro bono project, After Innocence, which provides direct services to exonerees across the country.
Lisa M. Schnitzer Memorial Scholarship – Rachel Green, JD ’19
The Lisa M. Schnitzer Memorial Scholarship was established by the family and friends of Lisa M. Schnitzer, a first-year student at Stanford Law School who was killed in a car accident in 1987. The scholarship was designed to be a lasting tribute to Lisa, in recognition of her deeply held commitment to helping others, particularly those less fortunate.
This year’s winner is Rachel Green, JD ’19. Before law school, as an undergraduate at Indiana University, Rachel worked as an advocate for sexual assault prevention and as an advocate for survivors. At SLS, she founded a new student group: Stanford Law Students against Gendered Violence. The group has dedicated pro bono hours to Bay Area Legal Aid and has worked to create handouts for clients in different states who are seeking to escape domestic violence. She also volunteers as Title IX and Sexual Assault Lead on the Associated Students of Stanford University’s Student Government Executive Board and serves as Executive Editor of the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
This summer, Rachel will be interning with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia in the Criminal Division. She hopes to be placed in the Violent Crimes Unit. She plans to pursue a career in government or nonprofit public interest work.
Pro Bono Distinction
Each year, a sizeable number of the Stanford Law School graduating class earns Pro Bono Distinction. Students who volunteer at least 50 hours of law-related pro bono work without compensation or academic credit before graduation will receive Pro Bono Distinction. Those who complete 150 hours or more of pro bono work graduate with High Distinction, and those who complete 300 hours or more graduate with Highest Distinction. The Class of 2017 contributed over 17,000 volunteer hours to pro bono projects during the course of their three years at the law school.
View the entire program, including post-graduate fellowships, here.
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.