Honoring Public Interest Work, Supporting Students

Posted Tue, 09/19/2017 - 10:25

The USF School of Law community gathered at Morgan Lewis in San Francisco Sept. 7 to honor alumni committed to public service and to raise money to support students working in unpaid summer positions with nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

The USF Public Interest Community Celebration featured an auction to support Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) grants for USF students.

The evening also featured four awards for USF School of Law alumni committed to public service, including the Distinguished Public Service Award, awarded to Claire Solot ’92. Solot is managing director of the Bigglesworth Family Foundation and co-founder of the Legal Services Funder Network, a group of funders who support civil legal service organizations as a strategy to help alleviate poverty.

“Claire Solot provides tremendous hope and strength to public interest organizations representing people and causes often shut out of the courtroom,” Dean John Trasviña said.

In addition, Morgan Lewis received the Law Firm Public Service Award; Paloma Wu ’12, legal director for ACLU of Mississippi, received the Rising Star Public Service Award; and Open Door Legal (formerly Bayview/Hunters Point Community Legal) received the Nonprofit Public Service Award.

The event was supported by the newly formed USF Public Interest Law Foundation Advisory Board, made up of 14 alumni who counsel and advise students and support PILF fundraising efforts.

“Our advisory board consists of lawyers who are talented, committed, and successful in their own right, so it is exciting to work with them and reconnect them to our PILF students and mission,” said Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Grace Hum, who spearheaded the creation of the board and the event.

Kimberly Irish ’06, director of the Healthy Nonprofits Program at OneJustice, serves as chair of the PILF Advisory Board. “My public interest career began with a grant from the Public Interest Law Foundation,” Irish said. “I care deeply about supporting and mentoring folks who want to pursue public interest law.”