Two members of the Law School community have been honored with university-wide awards for their commitment to community service. Susan Curry, the Director of Public Interest Law and Policy, and new graduate Eileen Ho, '12, were recognized at the 15th annual Volunteer Recognition Reception of the University Community Service Center.
Curry earned the Staff Service Award for her commitment to supporting students engaged in civic minded scholarship. In her two years at the Law School, Curry has intensified the focus on public interest law, particularly with the introduction of a Pro Bono Pledge that encourages students to complete 50 hours of law-related volunteer work before graduation. She also expanded fellowship opportunities and led the revision and relaunch of the loan repayment assistance program, in which the Law School makes the loan payments of graduates who work in public interest if they make less than $80,000 a year.
Ho, who graduated on June 9, was one of two recipients of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. She leaves an important legacy of being one of the founders of the Domestic Violence Project, a pro bono intiative through which students work with the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services to help victims of domestic violence. Ho also inspired the creation of the Gendered Violence and the Law Clinic.
Curry and Ho were among just a handful of recipients at the ceremony on May 21, and both stood out among the nominees, said Klaas Van Der Wey, Operations Director for the University Community Service Center. The awards were started by First Lady Michelle Obama when she was Associate Dean and Director of the center.
Regarding Curry’s nomination, “The thing that struck us most was the Pro Bono Pledge. We haven’t heard of anything like that before,” Van Der Wey said. Curry was nominated by student Bethany Fisher, ’12, who said Curry has “provided exceptional guidance and support for students interested in the field of public service.”
Ho was nominated by Associate Director of Student Affairs Shannon Bartlett, who described in detail the hard work Ho did to make the Domestic Violence Project a reality. Ho also served as a leader of the Law Women’s Caucus and the China Law Society, and she participated on the staff of the Chicago Journal of International Law, as well as in the Exoneration Project clinic and the Corporate Lab.
Van Der Wey said the judges were very impressed with Ho’s personal statement, which began:
“I have had two purposes in law school. The first is to use the skills that I have developed through school to serve my community. The second is to prompt future students to dedicate their time to serving our community.”
Ho later added that she had a lot of help with the Domestic Violence Project, but she was honored to be recognized for her role in it.
Also nominated for the President’s Volunteer Service Award was Lauren Fladger, ’13, the Community Service Co-Chair of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) at the Law School. Under her leadership, the organization planned and executed 20 community service and social justice projects in a year’s time.