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Third-Year Student Speaks at OneJustice Benefit

July 18, 2011

Carmen Franklin 3L was the featured student speaker at the OneJustice benefit reception and auction “Opening Doors to Justice”; approximately 350 people attended the July 13 event.

With the assistance of law students and lawyers, OneJustice works with low-income individuals in need of legal services to gain basic civil rights and to meet essential needs such as food and housing.

USF law students regularly participate in OneJustice programs that help underserved communities. The University of San Francisco School of Law is one of three schools involved in the organization’s Law Student Pro Bono Project, which matches law students with nonprofits and court-based programs that need assistance. Students also provide legal support to rural communities in Justice Bus Service Learning Trips. Under attorney supervision, students conduct legal intake interviews, draft legal documents, and educate clients.

“I worked with passionate and dedicated people and I developed a first-hand understanding of the critical work that is being done with legal aid organizations in California,” said Franklin, who has taken part in seven Justice Bus Service Learning Trips.

“I know that because of the Justice Bus trips and my experience with OneJustice I will be a better lawyer. No matter where I end up practicing law I am fully committed to using my legal skills to help people change their lives for the better,” she said. “The Justice Bus trips have taught me that I am able to provide options to individuals that they did not know they have. I can empower them to improve their own lives by using the legal system to solve their problems.”

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye was in attendance to present the Jack London Public Service Award to Peter Carson and recognize Ana de Alba and First Republic Bank. Carson is co-chair of Bingham McCutchen LLP’s global pro bono practice and has supported pro bono efforts throughout his career. De Alba has worked to expand legal services in the Central Valley and to make pro bono service mandatory at Lang, Richert & Patch, where she is an attorney. First Republic Bank, an Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA) Leadership Bank, pays a higher interest rate than required by law on IOLTA accounts resulting in increased funding to nonprofit legal aid organizations.

“I’m proud to be with so many of you here today doing extraordinary work under remarkable circumstances,” Cantil-Sakauye said. “I want you to know that from the highest level in all the courts your work is noticed and appreciated and does not go unheeded.”