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Sergio Puche ’11 (second from left) consults clients at the Community Law Project in Downtown San Diego, one of the many sites where students served
California Western Honors Students for Performing Nearly 20,000 Hours of Pro Bono and Public Service
Annual Pro Bono and Public Service Honors Society Induction Ceremony acknowledges service of 148 law students

SAN DIEGO, April 7, 2010 - On Tuesday evening, 148 students from California Western School of Law received recognition for their service to public interest agencies and governmental organizations. In the last year, students completed 19,184 hours of service to these organizations. Students were honored during the law school’s Annual Pro Bono and Public Service Honors Society Induction Ceremony.

“California Western is a much better law school because of our involvement in serving the public,” says Dean Steven R. Smith. “We’re changing the lives of people and organizations that can most benefit from our help, while advancing our students’ education by providing them with early, rewarding legal experience.”

Students Recognized for Service
Dean Smith welcomed attendees to the ceremony, followed with remarks from Director of Career Services Courtney Miklusak. The emcees wasted no time recognizing students for their service. 

Associate Director of Career Services Angela Kim recognized Porsha Venable (3L) for receiving the Alec L. Cory Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service during last month’s Student Awards Luncheon

Professor Linda H. Morton was recognized by Associate Dean for Academic Affairs William J. Aceves for receiving the Association of American Law Schools’ Father Robert Drinan Award for commitment to and promotion of pro bono service. 

The recipients of the law school’s Josi Dixon Public Interest Law Foundation grants were announced. John Bell, Jamie Larson, Ashley Negrette, Alexandra Ngo, Agustin Peña, Alison Schlick, and Michelle Stavros receive grants providing financial support while working with public interest organizations over the summer. The grants are named in honor of the late Josiane “Josi” M. Dixon ’06.

Jack Dailey, from the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc., announced Nicolette Borseth and Janelle Burch as the agency’s selections for full-time internships this summer. The internships are named for Anson Levitan and carry his vision of encouraging law students to consider careers in the public interest.

Alumna Tilisha D. Martin ’02, an attorney with Dependency Legal Group of San Diego and member of the law school’s Alumni Association Board of Directors, delivered a keynote address urging law students to continue giving back to the community and serving the underrepresented.

To conclude the evening, California Western recognized 112 students who completed the Pro Bono Program, volunteering more than 11,898 hours with local and national public interest agencies the past year. Thirty-six students completed the Public Service Program, volunteering more than 7,286 hours last year with city, county, state, and federal governmental organizations. In total, students contributed nearly 20,000 hours of pro bono and public service. 

California Western, Community Service, and Public Interest Law
California Western views the practice of law as a helping profession. Through pro bono and public service, students develop the knowledge, skills, and perspective necessary to become creative problem solvers and principled advocates.

Last year, California Western was awarded the State Bar of California President's Pro Bono Service Award. This award was the first-ever given to a California law school. The President's Pro Bono Service Award was California Western's second major recognition for community service last year. In February, the law school was named to the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction