Jody Shaw, Class of 2010, has received the Tennessee Bar Association's 2010 Law Student Volunteer of the Year Award, which is the organization's top award for law student pro bono work.
Shaw, who is currently clerking for Judge Samuel H. "Hardy" Mays Jr. on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee in Memphis, was recognized for his volunteer work with Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors (TJFON) during the 2009-10 academic year.
Housed at Nashville's Belmont United Methodist Church, TJFON is a not-for-profit organization that provides free immigration legal services to low-income individuals. Shaw volunteered with the organization throughout his law school career and was a regular at the monthly intake clinics. During his last year, though, he took on an especially significant amount of work and responsibility, including assuming a leadership role in two legal clinics: one that helped domestic violence victims and one that assisted low-wage earners who were victims of crime in the workplace. Shaw also took on a number of difficult cases including helping four adults and six children achieve lawful, permanent resident status in this country.
Shaw was nominated for the award by Katherine Dix Esquivel, who was the director of TJFON until last March. According to Esquivel, TJFON would have been unable to serve as many clients without Shaw's help. "Jody has a really wonderful manner of relating to clients who are extremely vulnerable and marginalized," Esquivel said. "He is hardworking, responsible, attentive and careful with every details. We were able to handle more cases this past year because Jody did so much work for us."
Shaw developed an interest in immigration as a teen working alongside immigrants in his father's restaurant. Now that he is in a position to help, Shaw says he is even more impressed with the courage of immigrants, many of whom have suffered loss and hardship, but who remain hopeful for a better future for themselves and their children.
The Law Student Volunteer Award is given annually to a Tennessee law school student who performs outstanding volunteer service working with an organization that provides legal representation to the poor.
Shaw was honored with the award at the TBA's recent public service luncheon in Nashville.
The Tennessee Bar Association is the largest professional association in Tennessee with more than 11,000 members. Founded in 1881, the TBA provides opportunities for continuing legal education, professional development and public service. The TBA's dedication to serving the state's legal community is evidenced by its membership roll, which represents the entire spectrum of legal practice: plaintiff and defense lawyers, corporate counsel, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, government lawyers and legal services attorneys.