Assistant Dean for Public Interest Spring Miller recognized 23 Vanderbilt Law students who completed the Pro Bono Pledge at the school’s annual awards ceremony April 19. The students logged a combined 6,908 hours of pro bono legal work and community service activities. Students who take Vanderbilt’s Vanderbilt’s Pro Bono Pledge make a commitment to dedicate a portion of their time throughout law school to pro bono legal work and community service. “The purpose of the pledge is to encourage students to engage in pro bono, public interest and community service activities while enrolled at Vanderbilt Law School,” Miller said. Students pursuing a three-year J.D. must complete at least 75 hours of service while students in the one-year LL.M. program must complete at least 25 hours of service. At least two-thirds of this time must involve law-related work.
Eight members of the J.D. Class of 2019, completed the pledge. They include Caroline Cassidy, Beverly Devon, Wesley Dozier, Lea Gulotta, Sam Heller, Hannah Keith, Holly Thompson and Tracey Yim.
Three members of the LL.M. Class of 2019, including Jianan Li, Alvaro Manrique Barrenechea and Shiqi Sun, completed 25 or more service hours during this academic year.
Dan Lawless ’19 and Vanessa Zapata ’19 both received special recognition for completing the pledge by the end of their 2L year and then logging more than 75 additional service hours as 3Ls. Lawless was recognized for logging the most service hours while earning his J.D. at Vanderbilt; he worked a total of 1,426 hours with the Capital Appeals Project, the Federal Public Defenders of the Northern District of Florida and the Metro Nashville Public Defender’s Office, and with other organizations. He plans to move to Tallahassee, Florida, to join the Federal Defender of Northern Florida’s Capital Habeas Unit as a research and writing attorney.
Ten members of the Class\ of 2020 completed the pledge. They include Muna Abdallah, Amber Banks, Willoe DeFuccio, Alexandra Eason, Randy Hiroshige (MDiv’20), Taylor Knowles, Cameron McCoig, Joshua Minchin, Lucas Paez and Victor Wu.
“I’m extremely proud of these students and excited about the valuable work experience they gained through their pro bono legal work,” Miller said.