Penn Carey Law recognizes and applauds the Class of 2023’s pro bono efforts.
This past academic year, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School students dedicated over 31,000 hours providing valuable legal service to communities both in Philadelphia and around the world.
Recognizing Commitment to Pro Bono
Though Penn Carey Law requires each JD student to complete 70 hours of pro bono service to earn their degree, many go beyond that, generously volunteering upwards of hundreds of hours over their law school careers to provide much-needed legal services to individuals and organizations that greatly benefit from the service.
This year, a laudable 92% of the graduating class exceeded this requirement.
Each year, Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC) recognizes students for their service. During their time at Penn Carey Law, 20 members of the Class of 2023 completed over 200 hours of pro bono service each, and five of those students completed over 400.
Student Spotlight: Trevor Stankiewicz L’23
Each year, the Edwin C. Baker Award is awarded to the student who completes the most cumulative pro bono hours. This year’s winner is Trevor Stankiewicz L’23.
While at Penn Carey Law, Stankiewicz participated in a number of pro bono projects that served communities around the world and locally, in Philadelphia and New York.
On the international front, Stankiewicz worked with both the International Human Rights Advocates (IHRA) and the International Refugee Assistance Program (IRAP). With IHRA, he contextualized victims’ rights following the disaster in Lebanon, examined legal standards for digital privacy in Belize, and analyzed crimes against humanity occurring in Myanmar. With IRAP, Stankiewicz helped to create a humanitarian parole application for an individual hoping to flee Afghanistan.
Locally, Stankiewicz worked with the Penn Housing Rights Project to support the UrbanPromise Legal Clinic and with Philadelphia VIP in helping a family avoid eviction following the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, through the Youth Education Program (YEP), he served as the Mock Trial Coach for the Academy at Palumbo for all three years of law school, working with the students to help them understand the judicial system. Through LawHelpNY, Stankiewicz responded to hundreds of individuals who were seeking help and resources in navigating the legal system.
“I am honored to have received this award for my pro bono work, and I am so grateful for the support, guidance, and mentorship of the Toll Public Interest Center, my project leaders, and my supervising attorneys,” Stankiewicz said. “Working on these projects has been the highlight of my time in law school, and I am thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with my classmates and make a difference in our community. The lessons I have learned, the experiences I have gained, and the friendships I have made through pro bono work will stay with me as I leave Penn and begin my legal career.”
Student Spotlight: Nastia Gorodilova L’23
Toll Scholar Nastia Gorodilova L’23 earned the highest tier of TPIC’s pro bono distinction, the Extraordinary Pro Bono Service Award, for completing more than 600 hours of pro bono.
Over the course of their law school career, Gorodilova primarily worked with the Youth Advocacy Project (YAP) under the supervision of the Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project (YSRP). They began this work as a fellow, and over time, took on more responsibility as a Case Chair, and then as a Co-Director.
“Working with YAP’s client-partners has undoubtedly been the most meaningful part of Penn Carey Law for me,” Gorodilova said. “The relationships we are able to build with young people navigating the criminal punishment system will last long beyond graduation.”
A Legal Education That Centers Service
As the first national law school in the country to instate a mandatory pro bono graduation requirement, Penn Carey Law has a strong history of public service. Since then, the Law School has both reaffirmed and grown its commitment to service by supporting an ever-expanding roster of student-led pro bono projects housed within TPIC.
By seamlessly integrating public service into multiple facets of a Penn Carey Law education, the Law School cultivates a culture that centers an ethos of service in all legal practices. Beyond pro bono work, Penn Carey Law students are empowered and encouraged to engage in service in their law school journeys through service-oriented curricular offerings, experiential learning clinics, and thought-provoking events and symposia.
Moreover, with support made possible by the Toll Foundation, 100% of law students who seek to pursue public service internship work during their summers receive funding, allowing them to gain valuable experience on their journey to becoming a public service lawyer. Further, through the Toll Scholars and Toll Fellows programs, more Penn Carey Law graduates than ever are financially supported in entering public service careers.