The Law Alumni Society (LAS)’s annual awards honor exemplary and inspirational members of the Penn Carey Law community.
The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School presented the 2023 Law Alumni Society Awards during a ceremony in May.
Honorees were Steve Stoute L’14; Gigi Sohn L’86; Victoria Joseph C’11, L’17; Randy Mastro L’81; Beth Brown; and the Honorable William Platt L’64.
Young Alumni Award
Steve Stoute L’14 received the Young Alumni Award, which recognizes extraordinary achievement in the decade following graduation. Stoute, the former Chief of Staff at DePaul University, is the President of Canisius College. He is the youngest as well as the first Black person to hold that position.
Appointed in 2022, Stoute has prioritized making the school more accessible and affordable. Nearly 100 percent of the student body receives some form of financial aid. He has also instituted a policy under which standardized tests will not be required for admission.
Louis H. Pollak Award
won the Louis H. Pollak Award, named for the former Dean of the Law School and advocate extraordinaire. The award honors an alumnus who has had a career advancing social justice through service in the public interest. Gigi Sohn L’86
Sohn, a longtime advocate for access to the internet, is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Senior Fellow & Public Advocate. She is the former Executive Director of the Media Access Project, the first public interest law firm dedicated to communications; co-founder of Public Knowledge, a Washington-based nonprofit focused on freedom of choice in the digital marketplace; and Special Counsel for External Affairs for the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
Howard Lesnick Pro Bono Award
Victoria Joseph C’11, L’17, a member of the board of the Penn Carey Law Black Alumni Association and an associate at Hogan Lovells.The Howard Lesnick Pro Bono Award, named for the founder of the Law School’s public service program, goes to an alum who has demonstrated a sustained commitment to pro bono or public sector work during a career in the public sector. The winner this year was
Joseph served on a pro bono basis as Special Prosecutor for the State of Minnesota in the George Floyd murder case. She and her colleagues were tasked with writing motions throughout the case. A former employee in Development & Alumni Relations at the Law School, Joseph went on to clerk for the Honorable Gregory M. Sleet of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware following graduation.
Alumni Award of Merit
Named one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” Mastro has been a legendary attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, King & Spalding, and Cravath, Swaine and Moore, where he was part of the successful libel defense team in the famous Westmoreland v. CBS defamation case. He also served the City of New York during 9/11, representing families of firefighters, for whom he successfully fought on a pro bono basis to restore millions in support funds. He was also a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York.
Distinguished Service Award
Beth Brown was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. The former Vice Dean of Development & Alumni Relations at Penn Carey Law, Brown broke fundraising records during her long career at the Law School. She was also responsible for the growth of regional alumni clubs and significant increases in the endowment, scholarship funding, and faculty size.
She also played a major role in the overhaul of the physical plant, culminating in the construction of Golkin Hall, a centerpiece of the Law School campus. Brown is now Chief of Staff, Secretary of the Corporation, and Vice President at Tulane University.
James Wilson Award
The Honorable William Platt L’64 received the James Wilson Award for Lifetime Achievement. Judge Platt retired in 2018 from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Prior, he spent 14 years, including two terms as President Judge, on the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County. He also served as Chief Public Defender in Lehigh County, District Attorney of Lehigh County, Allentown City Solicitor and spent several years in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps as well as in private practice.
In addition to writing numerous seminal opinions, Judge Platt was called on by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to make recommendations regarding the handling of an important case involving libel and organized crime in which one of the parties alleged judicial improprieties.