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Alumni Impact Awards

Celebrating Penn Carey Law alumni who are leaders, educators, innovators, mentors, and change-makers impacting the public service community in Philadelphia and beyond.

About the Awards

The Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC) Alumni Impact Awards highlight Penn Carey Law alumni who have distinguished themselves through their legal advocacy in the public’s interest. Recipients of the awards are beacons in their fields whose work — whether a landmark contribution or exceptional efforts — has positively impacted underserved populations and communities.

The Law School’s approach to legal education has always been anchored in an unwavering commitment to public service. Through the visionary philanthropy of Robert “Bob” Toll L’66 and Jane Toll GSE’66, TPIC has grown into a bustling hub for public service. TPIC is home to Penn Carey Law’s seminal public interest programs, including the Toll Public Interest Scholars Program and the Toll Public Interest Fellows Program.

Launched in 2022, the Alumni Impact Awards are intended to recognize alumni who utilized their law degrees to advocate for a more just and equitable society and provide financial support to alumni pursuing public service careers. Nominees should be leading lights who embody a commitment to public service that the Law School seeks to develop in all students.  The winner of the award will receive $10,000, and the runners up will each receive $5,000.

On this page:

2024 Alumni Impact Award Winner

Susan Pearlstein L'98 Susan Pearlstein L’98 is a Senior Attorney, Violence Prevention and Policy Strategist in the Family Law Unit at Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA). Susan started at PLA as a CASAC student intern during her first year at Penn Carey Law and PLA’s first year of existence. Upon graduation, Susan received a Skadden Foundation Fellowship to represent young mothers escaping family violence in protection from abuse, child custody, child support and divorce matters at PLA and has continued to represent survivors of family violence for over 25 years. She has specialized in the representation of immigrant victims of sexual assault and family violence and is currently overseeing several grants from the Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women and from the Office of Victims of Crime to serve these clients. Susan is dedicated to providing trauma-informed services to clients and enabling our legal community to be better informed of how trauma impacts clients, their families, and ourselves. After supervising the Family Law Unit for over 12 years, she now concentrates on policy and advocacy work as she continues to litigate complex family law matters. Susan earned her bachelor’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University in 1990 and her JD from Penn Carey Law in 1998.

2024 Alumni Impact Award Finalists

Jack Regenbogen L'15

Jack Regenbogen L’15

Jack is the Deputy Executive Director at Colorado Poverty Law Project. With expertise in evictions, landlord-tenant law, public benefits such as SNAP and helping people with criminal justice records, Jack is responsible for developing and supporting policies to improve the economic security of low-income Coloradans. Jack has more than a decade of experience with legislative and policy advocacy, and he has helped to develop, draft, and pass more than three dozen bills. His work has included expanding notice before an eviction, establishing a statewide Eviction Legal Defense Fund, limiting access to eviction court records, reforming Colorado’s Mobile Home Park Act, limiting consideration of criminal history on rental and employment applications, ensuring that tenants have a right to a copy of their lease and rent receipts, and obtaining crucial reforms in the eviction court process. In 2017, Jack co-authored a report, “Facing Eviction Alone,” which has been cited in national studies and law journals as an authority on the barriers tenants face in evictions due to insufficient legal resources. Jack earned his bachelor’s degree from Colorado College in 2012 and his JD from Penn Carey Law in 2015, with an honor for his dedication to promoting legal services for people experiencing poverty.

Rae Shih L'18

Rae Shih L’18

Rae is Education Counsel at the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union. She manages the Buffalo Hotline Suspension project, which includes running a seven- organization coalition and suspension representation program for families in Western New York, as well as conducting impact litigation statewide. At the NYCLU, she has drafted state appellate briefs and prepared oral argument for a Freedom of Information lawsuit against the NYPD regarding the use of metal detectors. Prior to joining the NYCLU, she was a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii representing indigent clients in state court trials and hearings, administrative hearings, and negotiations. She also served as a guardian ad litem representing the best interests of foster youth before the court. At the ACLU of Hawaii, she helped end the overuse of juvenile solitary confinement in the state and the use of strip searches at the youth shelter. Rae is currently an adjunct law professor at the University at Buffalo School of Law, having previously been an adjunct at the New York Law School and University of Hawaii Law School. Rae earned her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 2010 and her JD from Penn Carey Law and MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School, both in 2018.

Nominations for the 2024 Alumni Impact Awards

Nominations for the 2024 Alumni Impact Awards are closed. Nominations were reviewed by a Selection Committee comprised of faculty, staff, and community partners. Recipients of the 2024 Alumni Impact Awards were honored at the Annual Pro Bono Recognition & Alumni Impact Awards Dinner on April 16, 2024, as part of the Law School’s broader celebration of service.

Nomination Details

Past Winners

Links and Resources

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