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Two USF Students Honored at American Association for Justice’s Annual Convention

August 12, 2013

At the American Association for Justice (AAJ) annual convention in July, Shauna Madison 3L received the AAJ Women for Justice Education Fund’s Mike Eidson Scholarship, and Adam Birka-White 2L was presented with the Leesfield Scholarship.

Adam Birka-White AAJ 2013
From left to right: Attorney David Birka-White, AAJ Vice President Lisa Blue Baron, and Adam Birka-White 2L.

The Mike Eidson Scholarship Fund awards $5,000 to a rising 3L female student who has demonstrated a commitment to a career as a plaintiffs’ lawyer or criminal defense lawyer, along with dedication to upholding and defending the principles of the Constitution, and to the concept of a fair trial, the adversary system, and a just result for the injured, the accused, and those whose rights are jeopardized.

“Shauna Madison embodies everything the Mike Eidson Scholarship stands for: academic excellence, service to the community, dedication to upholding and defending the principles of the Constitution and the civil justice system, and a commitment to a career helping seek just results for the injured,” said Lauren Guth Barnes, outgoing chair of the Women Trial Lawyers Caucus and a partner with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP in Cambridge, Mass.

Madison said the convention reinvigorated her commitment to social justice and opened up to her a valuable network of lawyers and activists. “The rooms were filled with amazing attorneys, congressmen, paralegals, and legal assistants, all of whom work tirelessly in the fields of plaintiff-side litigation and criminal defense,” she said. “Everyone was passionate, personable, and eager to share their experiences as a trial attorney.

From left to right: Shauna Madison 3L with Women for Justice Education Fund Chair Lauren Barnes and U.S. Senatorial candidate Bruce Braley.

Birka-White received $2,500 for his commitment to representing plaintiffs and preserving the civil justice system, subsidizing his attendance at the conference.

“This year's AAJ annual convention was my first legal convention, and what was most inspiring for me was the call to action to aggressively respond to challenges facing plaintiffs in the United States today,” said Birka-White. “America's corporate interests have found a favorable ear with the U.S. Supreme Court, and plaintiffs' rights have been severely curtailed during the court's recent terms. It's up to trial lawyers, and our legislators as well, to ensure that plaintiffs continue to have robust access to our civil justice system.”

As the largest trial bar, AAJ promotes justice and fairness for injured persons, safeguards victims’ rights—particularly the right to trial by jury—and strengthens the civil justice system through education and disclosure of information critical to public health and safety. AAJ fights daily to protect the civil justice system against corporations and powerful individuals.