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Award-Winning Dedication to Equal Access to Justice

February 08, 2023

Su Ming Yeh L’04 has received the Philadelphia Bar Foundation award in recognition of her staunch commitment to public service.

Su Ming Yeh L’04 has been awarded the Philadelphia Bar Foundation Award, which recognizes a public interest attorney who is dedicating their life to equal access to justice by working in the nonprofit legal services field. Yeh is the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project (PILP) and was honored at the 2022 Access to Justice Awards Benefit this past October.

Su Ming Yeh L'04 Su Ming Yeh L'04“During her almost twenty-year career at PILP, Yeh has improved the lives of thousands of people, protecting the rights of incarcerated people, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, and countless others who suffered abuse behind bars,” the Philadelphia Bar Foundation said in a press release.

Yeh is a former Adjunct Professor for the Civil Practice Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and former co-chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Civil Rights Committee and Public Interest Section. She served as the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania (APABA-PA) President in 2015 and has been a board member of the Defender Association. Prior to law school, Yeh served as the Executive Director of the Asian Professional Extension, Inc., a mentoring organization for Asian-American youth in New York City, and was a community organizer with the Coalition for Asian-American Children and Families.

“I am incredibly honored to receive the Philadelphia Bar Foundation award,” said Yeh. “I appreciate the Law School for providing a strong foundation to launch my public interest legal career. I am very grateful to have been selected as a Public Interest Scholar (as it was then called) that enabled me to freely pursue a public interest career after graduation. Taking the Civil Practice Clinic with [Practice Professor of Law and Director of the Civil Practice Clinic and Legislative Clinic] Lou Rulli provided me with invaluable lawyering skills, and classes like ‘Constitutional Litigation’ with [Kenneth W. Gemmill Professor of Law] Seth Kreimer, ‘Evidence’ with [Senior Fellow] David Rudovsky, and ‘Federal Courts’ with [David E. Kaufman & Leopold C. Glass Professor of Law] Catherine Struve provided a strong substantive base for the intellectual side of the legal work.”

Yeh also acknowledged and praised Penn Carey Law’s collegiate atmosphere.

“Most of all, I really appreciate the Law School’s community – the friends, colleagues, and mentors,” she said. “After becoming a lawyer, I felt incredibly fortunate (and awed) to have been able to co-counsel cases with David Rudovsky and work with Lou Rulli, whose wisdom and guidance I benefit from and value to this day.”

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation Award was originally established by the Apothaker family to honor Louis D. Apothaker; it acknowledges exceptional leadership, dedication and accomplishment, and is accompanied by a $2,500 prize.

“This important and prestigious honor is presented annually to an individual who represents the legal community’s commitment to promoting equal access to justice and embodies the mission of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation and its work in support of civil legal aid in Philadelphia,” according to the Bar Foundation.

Read more about Penn Carey Law’s unwavering commitment to public service.