On February 26, 2016, members of the Cornell Law community convened at the Association of the Bar of New York to celebrate the 11th Annual Public Service Awards. This year, eleven current Law School students and seven alumni were honored for their outstanding dedication to public interest law.
Candidates for the awards are nominated by Law School alumni, faculty, and administrators, and are reviewed by the Faculty-Student Public Service Committee. "Every year I am so impressed by the commitment and talent demonstrated by the awardees" says Karen Comstock, assistant dean for public service.
The alumni awardees, listed below, represent a range of graduation years and specializations. Ed Cross '76 has had an extensive career seeking justice for the mentally ill in New Hampshire. Sharice Davids '10 heads up economic development initiatives for the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota. The work of other alumni honorees includes addressing fraud and abuse in the pharmaceutical industry, handling wide-ranging pro bono cases in a private firm, directing a disability advocacy project that provides services for veterans, working to ensure the full participation of people with disabilities in the workplace, and representing indigent clients charged with offenses ranging from municipal violations to capital murder.
"Every one of the honorees has such humility," says Comstock. "They think it's wonderful to receive an award simply for doing what they love."
2016 Exemplary Alumni Public Service Honorees
- Meredyth Andrus '85, Attorney, Health Care Division, U.S. Federal Trade Commission-Washington, D.C.
- Christopher Clark '05, Associate, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom-Boston, Massachusetts
- Ed Cross '76, Staff Attorney, New Hampshire Public Defender-Manchester, New Hampshire
- Sharice Davids '10 (Rising Star Award), Deputy Director, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation-Porcupine, South Dakota
- Tanya Douglas '92, Director, Disability Advocacy Project, Manhattan Legal Services-New York, New York
- Edwin Lopez-Soto '81, Chief Counsel, Rochester City School District-Rochester, New York
- Angela Rea '02, Chief, Adult Trial Division, Louisville-Jefferson County Public Defender-Louisville, KY
Student Public Interest Prizes
Freeman Award for Civil-Human Rights
Awarded annually to the law student or students who have made the greatest contributions during his or her law school career to civil-human rights: Emmanuel Arnaud, Edward Flores, Hannah Freedman, Amanda Reynoso-Palley, Aysha Valery (all class of 2016)
Stanley E. Gould Prize for Public Interest Law
Awarded annually to a third-year student or students who have shown outstanding dedication to serving public interest law and public interest groups: Chelsea Gunter, Allison Hoppe, Hillary LeBeau, Florence Seaman (all class of 2016)
Seymour Herzog Memorial Prize
Awarded annually to a student or students who demonstrate excellence in the law and commitment to public interest law, combined with a love of sports: Drew Grossman (class of 2016)
Harold Oaklander Prize
Awarded to a student who excelled in the Harold Oaklander Public Interest Summer Fellowship Program to Advance Justice and Public Policy Against Persistent Unemployment: Jessica Lam (class of 2017).