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Penn Law Alumni Society Honors Five Graduates with Awards

September 23, 2011

On October 6, 2011 five University of Pennsylvania Law School graduates – with expertise ranging from human rights law to sex discrimination to judicial reform – were honored for their career achievements, pro bono work, service to the legal profession and service to the Law School.

They are:

Chandra Bhatnagar L’01
James J. Sandman L’76
Lynn A. Marks L’79
Professor Regina Austin L’73, HOM’83
Marcia Greenberger CW’67, L’70

Chandra Bhatnagar The Young Alumni Award, honoring professional achievement of an alumnus/a who graduated within the past 10 years, was awarded to Chandra Bhatnagar L’01.

Bhatnagar is a senior staff attorney with the Human Rights Program at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). His practice centers on the intersection of racial justice and immigration with specific focus on the rights of low-wage immigrant workers, undocumented workers, and guestworkers. He is also involved in advocacy regarding the use of international and foreign law in U.S. courts and the domestic implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). He is the principal author of The Persistence of Racial and Ethnic Profiling in the United States (2009), a report submitted to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Prior to joining the ACLU, Bhatnagar was a staff attorney and Skadden fellow with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, where he directed the South Asian Workers’ Project for Human Rights, a community-based project providing legal services to low-wage workers from South Asia. Previously, he was the assistant director of Columbia University’s “Bringing Human Rights Home Project,” where he worked to improve conditions affecting post 9-11 detainees and efforts to organize a coalition of human rights defenders in the United States. Bhatnagar has also worked internationally, partnering with a leading NGO in India in applying human rights standards to their anti-child labor/bonded labor campaigns, and domestically with the Center for Constitutional Rights, where he did immigrants’ rights and anti-police brutality organizing, and served as the interim director of the Ella Baker Summer Intern Program. He received a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and an LLM with a focus in international human rights from Columbia Law School.

Jim Sandman The Howard Lesnick Pro Bono Award, honoring an alumnus/a who has embodied the spirit of the Public Service Program through a sustained commitment to pro bono and/or public service throughout a private sector career, was awarded to James J. Sandman L’76.

James Sandman was appointed President of the Legal Services Corporation, effective January, 2011. He was with Arnold & Porter LLP from 1977 to 2007 and served as the firm’s managing partner from 1995 to 2005. From 2007 to 2011, he was general counsel for the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Sandman is the co-chair of the District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services and is a member of the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project Advisory Committee. From 2007-2008, he served on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. He is a member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission’s District of Columbia State Advisory Committee. Sandman also is vice chairman of the Washington Performing Arts Society and on the boards of the International Senior Lawyers Project, the Meyer Foundation, and the Women’s Bar Association. He was elected president of the D.C. Bar from 2006-2007 and served on the Bar’s Board of Governors from 2003-2008. He is currently the chair of the Bar’s Pro Bono Committee and formerly chaired the Bar’s Pro Bono Initiative Working Group. Sandman previously served on the boards of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program of the District of Columbia, the NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education, Wilkes University, the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Whitman-Walker Clinic. He also has served on the scholarship selection committee of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.

Sandman received the University of Pennsylvania Law School Alumni Award of Merit in 2007 and was named one of the “90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years” by the Legal Times in 2008. He also was recognized as a “Star of the Bar” by the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia in 2006. In 2011, he received the first annual Celebration of Service Award from D.C. Law Students in Court and the Tahirih Justice Center’s Wings of Justice Award. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and received his law degree cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as Executive Editor of the Law Review. He clerked for Judge Max Rosenn of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Lynn Marks The Alumni Award of Merit, honoring professional achievement and service to the Law School, was awarded to Lynn A. Marks L’79.

Marks is the executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a statewide nonpartisan organization working to reform Pennsylvania’s courts, particularly in the areas of judicial selection, judicial discipline, jury service, court funding, and increasing racial, gender and ethnic fairness. Marks serves on the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness, the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s House of Delegates, the Advisory Board of PA Coalition Against Rape and the ABA’s Commission on the American Jury. She was a member of the PA Supreme Court Committee on Racial and Gender Bias and co-chaired its gender fairness work.

Marks is the author of a legal treatise on the rights of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She has chaired the Boards of the Women’s Law Project, Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women. Marks was named one of 25 “Women of the Year” in 2008 by American Lawyer Media. She has received numerous awards, including the Philadelphia Bar Association’s “Sandra Day O’Connor Award” and “Alexander Hamilton Award” as well as a Philadelphia City Council Proclamation “in tribute to her life’s work.” She currently serves on the Law Alumni Society’s Board of Managers. 

Regina Austin The Distinguished Service Award, honoring service to the Law School, was awarded to Professor Regina Austin L’73, HOM’83.

Austin, the William A. Schnader Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, is a leading authority on economic discrimination and minority legal feminism. Her work on the overlapping burdens of race, gender, and class oppression, recognized for its insight and creativity, has been widely reprinted. She is also the founding director of the Penn Program on Documentaries & the Law, which holds an annual Visual Legal Advocacy Roundtable for public interest lawyers, hosts screenings of law-genre documentary films throughout the year, and maintains a national repository of dozens of clemency videos as a resource for attorneys representing defendants facing the death penalty or a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. In addition to making extensive use of documentaries in her traditional courses, Austin teaches a visual legal advocacy seminar in which students make short videos on behalf of actual public interest clients and causes. The videos can be found on the Law School’s website or on its You Tube channel.

Austin received her JD, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania and was elected to the Order of the Coif. She has a BA from the University of Rochester. She has been teaching at the Law School for 34 years. Prior to joining the Penn Law faculty, she was a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund B. Spaeth of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, and an associate with the law firm of Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis. She has been a visiting professor at Brooklyn, Columbia, Harvard, and Stanford Law Schools.

Marcia Greenberger The James Wilson Award, honoring service to the legal profession, was awarded to Marcia Greenberger CW’67, L’70.

Described as “guiding the battles of the women’s rights movement” by the New York Times, Marcia Greenberger is the founder and co-president of the National Women’s Law Center. The creation of the Center almost 40 years ago established her as the first full-time women’s rights legal advocate in Washington, D.C. A recognized expert on sex discrimination and the law, Greenberger has participated in the development of key legislative initiatives and landmark litigation protecting and advancing women’s rights, particularly in the areas of education, employment, family economic security, health and reproductive rights. She is the author of numerous published articles. Examples include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which provides key protections against discrimination and sexual harassment on the job, the Athletics Disclosure Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and Supreme Court victories strengthening protections for students, teachers, and employees against sex discrimination.

Greenberger’s leadership and contributions are reflected in the professional honors she has received and the numerous boards on which she serves. Recognized by Working Woman Magazine as one of the 25 heroines whose activities over 25 years have helped women in the workplace, and Washingtonian Magazine as one of Washington, D.C.’s most powerful women and as one of Washington, D.C.’s top lawyers, she received such awards as the Alumni Award of Merit from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Lafayette College, and is a member of the American Law Institute. Greenberger received her BA with honors and JD cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.