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News Posted on May 2, 2012

Class of 2012 Honored at Public Service Graduation

Michael Wu 12Michael Wu '12 was honored with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award and members of the Class of 2012 celebrated completion of the King Hall Public Service Law Program at the 2012 Public Service Graduation held in the Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom on April 27.

Kirsten Hill '04, Associate Director of Career Services and Public Interest Career Planning at UC Davis School of Law, welcomed the audience and gave opening remarks, noting the widening "justice gap" that is occurring as the federal and state governments cut back on legal aid to the poor.  "The students being honored here today are committed to bridging that justice gap," she said.  "Collectively, they have devoted more than 40,000 hours to the courts, legal aid and defender organizations, and government agencies in service of those who otherwise would not have equal access to the justice system.  Today we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and recognize these students for their demonstrated commitment to public service."

"This is one of my favorite events of the year," said Dean Kevin R. Johnson, speaking next.  "Whatever the regents thought when they created UC Davis School of Law, whatever kind of law school they thought they were creating in 1964, it's the students who truly have made this Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall.  It's the students who exemplify Dr. King's character.  It's the students who have made words about serving the public interest into deeds of service." In an impressive demonstration of the King Hall community's ongoing commitment to public service, more than half of the Class of 2012 completed the Public Service Law Program, an academic certification program designed to prepare students for public service careers, Dean Johnson noted.

The event included remarks from Holly S. Cooper, lecturer and staff attorney with the UC Davis School of Law Immigration Law Clinic, who said she was inspired by the dedication of this year's Public Service graduates.  "The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood," said Cooper, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  "I can think of no better words to capture the spirit of the Class of 2012."

Professor Leticia Saucedo, King Hall's Director of Clinical Education, introduced keynote speaker Krsna Avila, a UC Davis undergraduate who spoke movingly on his experience of being brought to the United States as an infant, realizing his undocumented status as a high school student, and seeking answers to his legal problems with the help of Professor Saucedo.

The awards presentations began with Krystal Callaway Jaime, supervising attorney for the UC Davis School of Law's Family Protection and Legal Assistance Clinic, presenting the Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student award to Jennifer Gomez '12, citing her outstanding work in designing the "Cyberbullying, Sexting, and Sextortion" presentation that has now been given to more than 1,700 students, parents, and teachers. 

The King Hall Legal Foundation (KHLF) awarded its 2012 Summer Public Interest Grants to Imron Bhatti '14, Tom Morris '13, Anita Mukherji '14, Eric Olah '13, Bradley Showman '14, Karen Soell '13, Nicholas Starkman '13, Nicholas Valk '13, Anna von Herrmann ‘14, and Jared Wigginton '13, and announced the KHLF Bar Grant recipients as Joanna Cuevas-Ingram '12, Naomi Kaplowitz '12, Dusty LaMay '12, Roel Mangiliman '12, Illisa Mira '12, Christine Poquiz '12, Lauren Roberts '12, Jennifer Wickens '12, and Michael Wu '12. 

Professor Anupam Chander, Director of the California International Law Center at King Hall, presented UC Human Rights Fellowships  to Monica Crooms '13 and Hannah Labaree '13, and John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowships to Miles Prince '14 and Nienke Schouten '14.

Eighteen students were nominated for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award, which is given each year to the graduating student or students who best exemplify Dr. King's vision and commitment to public service.  The award is student-nominated and student-selected.  The 2012 award winner, Michael Wu, was honored for public service work including service with the Yolo County Public Defender's Office, Santa Clara County Public Defender's office, the Immigration Law Clinic, and Yolo County Juvenile Hall. 

Immediately following the Public Service Graduation, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends gathered in the King Hall courtyard for a "Farewell BBQ" hosted by the King Hall Alumni Association.  The event included the presentation of the 2012 Frank and Margaret Johns Alumni Association Award to Caitlin Barth '12 and Mo Sakrani '12 by Alumni Association President Kara Ueda '00 and Alumni Association Board of Directors member Gene Woo '85. This year's Farewell BBQ also included the honoring of Class of 2012 members James Beck, Scott Judson, Collin Kilpatrick, Jason Liu, Liam McKenna, Jan Roos, Brittany Sachs, John Stoller, Alana Thorbourne, and Kyle Wende for their selection to the Order of the Barristers, the national honorary organization formed to encourage excellence in oral advocacy and brief writing.