2011 Exemplary Alumni Public Interest Awards:
Shane Cooper '03
Staff Judge Advocate/Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy
Shane Cooper graduated from summa cum laude from Cornell Law School, where he was an editor for the Cornell Law Review and an officer in the Legal Aid Clinic. His many post-graduate accomplishments include acting as Detachments Senior Trial Counsel and Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, Staff Judge Advocate for Submarine Group TRIDENT, and a one year Global War on Terrorism Support assignment in Iraq as Deputy Chief, Rule of Law. His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal with gold star and the Navy Achievement Medal with two gold stars.
Lawrence F. Gardella '75
Director of Advocacy, Legal Services of Alabama
During his more than 30 years in Alabama, Lawrence Gardella has represented more than 7,500 low income clients in a wide range of cases, including class actions and individual actions for widespread relief involving Medicaid, Social Security and AFDC. He supervises attorneys in 10 offices and ensures that clients receive excellent quality of service. His advocacy leadership in recent years has helped both tenants and homeowners keep their homes. In addition, he was the principle author of disaster manuals for Alabama after Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. He is known as the "go to guy" when responding to disasters and their impact on low income people in Alabama.
Mary Griffin '88
Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game
Mary Griffin's many accomplishments in the areas of land conservation, habitat restoration and fisheries management have served well both the physical environment and the citizens of Massachusetts. During her years at the Attorney General's Office and the Department of Environmental Management, Mary was instrumental in developing and promoting projects to protect thousands of acres of lands while also creating jobs. She and her staff at the Department of Fish and Game successfully manage the Commonwealth's marine commercial fisheries in a sustainable manner that allows fish stocks to rebuild while preserving the traditional fishing ways of life in ports in Gloucester, New Bedford, and on Cape Cod.
Matthew D. Glasser '77
Lead Urban Specialist, World Bank
Matthew Glasser has been working on international development issues in South Asia, South Africa and Eastern Europe for the past 18 years. His focus is on helping developing countries and emerging governments build the economic and political infrastructure they and their people need for the future. His projects include working with national and local governments on frameworks related to sub-sovereign debt in Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ukraine. He has designed and managed large-scale technical assistance and capacity-building programs in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Currently, he is leading preparation for the Bank's largest ever urban loan, a US $1 billion project requested by the Government of India.
Nancy Koppe '92
Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nevada
Nancy Koppe has devoted her career to prosecuting crimes against children. She built the Nevada U.S. Attorney's Office's child exploitation program from the ground up. When the Department of Justice created the Project Safe Childhood in 2006, the U.S. Attorney asked Nancy to become the Project Safe Childhood coordinator for the District of Nevada. She has presented trainings on child pornography offenses to the Chief District Judges of the Ninth Circuit, and she has prosecuted hundreds of child exploitation cases. She works with child victims, helps them confront the people who have victimized them in court, gain closure, and move on to productive lives. On her time off, Nancy makes presentations to parents and children about Internet safety, so that fewer children will be victimized.
Charlotte Lanvers '07 (Rising Star Award)
Staff Attorney, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), Inc.
In just three short years since graduating from Cornell Law School, Charlotte Lanvers has made her mark in the field of disability rights. Charlotte received a prestigious Skadden Fellowship to undertake a project at DREDF to provide legal advocacy and outreach directly to, and on behalf of, children from low-income minority communities with chronic disabilities who are increasingly being denied access to a safe public education as the number of school nurses decreases. More recently, Charlotte has been a member of the DREDF team that successfully challenged the Social Security Administration's failure to provide critical communications to recipients with visual impairments in formats other than print that would enable people to have equal access to SSA programs as required by federal disability civil rights law. She remains involved in implementation of this class action, monitoring compliance by SSA and negotiating details of compliance with them.
June Lorenzo '84
In-house Attorney, Pueblo of Laguna
June Lorenzo has dedicated her life to public service with a focus on Native American affairs. She began her legal career at the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, and then moved on to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, analyzing legislation to determine the impact on Indian tribes. At the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, she litigated, investigated and monitored compliance with the Voting Rights Act. With the Indian Law Resource Center, June focused on the international application of human rights law to indigenous peoples. She has vast experience in the Organization of American States process and has attended UN Indigenous forums at all levels. Now, as the in-house attorney for the Pueblo of Laguna in her home state of New Mexico, she advises the Governor and the Pueblo's Council on a wide spectrum of legal issues. Among many accomplishments, June oversaw the compilation in one comprehensive statue all of the Pueblo's statutes, codes and ordinances.
Marie Pierre Py '05 (Rising Star Award)
Public Defender, Public Defender Service of D.C.
Marie Pierre Py has had a short but intense career as a criminal defense attorney. After her initial fellowship at the Capital Defenders in Atlanta, she spent two years as a public defender in rural Georgia. With a staggering caseload and few resources, she represented clients who were predominantly people of color in one of the last places in the U.S. to have reported a lynching, where many white people still display the Confederate flag with pride. She once confronted a judge on the record after he proclaimed in a voice loud enough for the jury to hear that her client clearly was guilty as sin. Then, in a piece published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ms. Py argued that she and her colleagues, on a daily basis, were forced to provide ineffective assistance to their clients because they lacked adequate training, funding and time to provide the type of defense that the Constitution is supposed to ensure. At the Public Defender Service in D.C., Marie continues to represent her clients with zeal.