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Loyola University New Orleans Law Student Receives National Award for Leadership in Racial and Social Justice and Equity

By Loyola University on Thu, 09/03/2020 - 10:10

(New Orleans, La. – September 3, 2020) Third-year Loyola New Orleans law student Jodi Hill will be honored for her leadership this month by the National Lawyers Guild, when they present her with the C.B. King Award at the virtual 2020 #Law4thePeople Convention. With this honor, she is named the organization’s Law Student of the Year.

The National Lawyers Guild is an 80-year-old professional organization focused on human rights interests and dedicated to making necessary change in the nation’s political and economic system. In particular, the NLG has for 50 years provided legal support for movements for social justice. With chapters across the country, law students are its fastest-growing sector, organizing on and off campus.

In making its selection, the NLG selection committee highlighted Ms. Hill’s work with the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, Loyola’s Workplace Justice Project, and New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice as examples that show her dedication to using law to fight for justice.

“Ms. Hill stands out very distinctively among one of the best law students I have interacted with. She has the qualities and characteristics worthy of this award,” said Loyola Law Professor and Former Dean María Mercedes Pabón. “She embodies attributes that all in the legal world can look up to: high intellectual ability, an ethic of professionalism, courage and eloquence coupled with a delightful personality. She also works hard to make the world a better place, more just, and equitable for all.”

Deeply committed to social and racial justice and equality, Jodi Hill is an active member of Loyola’s National Lawyers Guild chapter. Over the last two years, she has trained to become a movement lawyer and has been deeply committed to the adoption of legal pedagogy that prioritizes human interests over private property interests, in keeping with the NLG mission – and in particular, centers the narratives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. As a woman of color in the legal profession, she is committed to leading for social change.
She has a strong commitment to openness and dialogue, and uses her unique experiences to support and advance that goal both on campus and in the community, Professor Pabón said. She is also an enthusiastic and effective communicator, letting her strong personal integrity guide her decision making.

As the 2019 Vice-President of Loyola’s NLG chapter, Jodi organized Loyola NLG’s first “Thinking Outside the Books” event, where students launched a collective demand for course offerings based on human rights litigation, critical race theory, and the prison industrial complex. She expanded NLG’s community presence, by galvanizing student legal support for local immigration attorneys representing asylum seekers and detained immigrants in North Louisiana.

In addition to her NLG work, Jodi is deeply committed to environmental justice. She was a Loyola Human Rights Advocacy Project student, where she provided legal support for Black organizers working to stop petrochemical plant expansion in Cancer Alley. She served as a brief writer and oralist for Loyola’s PACE Environmental Law Moot Court team, winning the best oralist award at the 2020 national competition. Additionally, Jodi has worked as a legal writing and research teaching assistant for Loyola Professor of Law and Former Dean, Professor María Mercedes Pabón.

Jodi spent the summer following her first year of law school interning with the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, where she supported litigation enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. She also worked as a research assistant in Loyola’s Workplace Justice Project for Clinical Director and Professor, Luz Molina. She spent the next summer interning with the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, where she worked with Black and Brown organizers to develop strategies for challenging labor violations and building labor power. Jodi is now serving as a student practitioner at Loyola’s Workplace Justice Project.

Jodi hails from Prairieville, Louisiana and currently lives in New Orleans. She is a 2016 alumna of Xavier University of Louisiana. Jodi serves as a board member of Serve Louisiana, Louisiana’s longest-running AmeriCorps program. She is committed to leveraging her legal education towards advancing equity in the Deep South.

The C.B. King Award is given to an NLG law student in honor of Chevene Bowers King (1923-1988), one of the country’s most prominent and courageous civil rights lawyers. For over 30 years, he practiced law in Albany, Georgia, where he was a major figure in the civil rights movement. C.B. King was also a great teacher who taught several generations of law students and young lawyers how to practice law with a commitment to the poor, the disenfranchised, and the oppressed.