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College of Law community recognized for public service

June 7, 2013

The Gillis Long Poverty Law Center in the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law recently presented its 2013 Public Service Awards to students, alumni and faculty. Each year, the center presents awards to those who have demonstrated a commitment to social justice and their service to the needs of the disadvantaged. Recipients were announced at a ceremony May 8 at the College of Law.

Award recipients include:

  • Loyola professor Andrea Armstrong, J.D.
    Nominated for this award because of her commitment to justice work for low-income people, Armstrong trains her students to look beyond the narratives about poor, criminalized people that are offered in the casebooks. She is committed to working in the community and is a familiar face at many public meetings, city council meetings and other off-campus events.

  • Elizabeth Cumming, J.D. '08
    Since graduating from Loyola, she has focused her work on Orleans Parish Prison conditions, representing prisoners on issues related to safety, health and mental health care, and on inmates’ first amendment rights to access printed materials while in jail. Cumming has worked with the Capital Appeals Project and the Southern Poverty Law Center, and she has testified before Congress on the Prison Rape Elimination Act hearings.

  • Rebecca Curry
    Curry was involved with the Jefferson Parish Public Defender’s office where she met with inmates at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center. She assisted with research, attended court, and drafted jury instructions and motions for criminal cases. Earlier this year, she joined Loyola’s Human Rights Clinical Program with professor Johanna Kalb, J.D., working on behalf of the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice.

  • Thomas Edmonds
    Edmonds has been a mentor to at-risk, under-served fourth grade students at the Good Shepherd School since fall 2012. A firm believer in the importance of male role models for boys in single-mother households, he has been instrumental in encouraging other law students to serve as mentors.

  • Anna Lellelid, J.D. '13
    Lellelid has advocated for the homeless in Toronto, worked with drug-addicted and homeless people in downtown Vancouver, helped crack and heroin addicts in Minneapolis, and aided HIV-infected teenagers in Miami. She has also advised inmates serving life sentences without the possibility of parole in Louisiana and Kingston, Jamaica.

  • Joshua Pichon, J.D. '13
    A student practitioner in the law clinic, Pichon began meeting clients in the Orleans Public Defenders office, learning critical information first-hand that could affect their chance at getting a reasonable bond. He began providing these pretrial services before such a program formally existed, when none or very few of his coworkers wanted to do that work.

  • Emily Posner, J.D. '13
    Posner advocates on behalf of those sentenced as juveniles to mandatory life without parole, and clients seeking to have their criminal records expunged. Posner has worked with the Angola 3 Project to help win clients’ release as well as raise awareness of the inhumane conditions of solitary confinement in the prison system.

  • Emily Ratner, J.D. '13
    Ratner has been an advocate for marginalized communities both at home and abroad. Ratner was also instrumental in putting together the College of Law’s People’s Law Conference last spring and other social justice events.

  • Mathilde Semmes
    Since July of 2008, Semmes has been a member of the Resource Development Committee at the Pro Bono Project, currently serving as its co-chair. Since entering law school, Semmes has been actively involved in building relationships between College of Law students and the Pro Bono Project, receiving its 2012 Pro Bono Law Student Award.

  • Aaron Weaner
    Weaner has touched many lives as an intern with Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. In the Disability Section, he works with clients who are homeless and have mental disabilities.

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