Kaneesha Dukes ’19 during CORI Initiative training
BOSTON – October 16, 2018 – New England Law | Boston, the only independent ABA-accredited law school in Massachusetts, today announced that twenty-one of its students—significantly more than any other law school in Massachusetts, with the exception of Harvard Law—were recognized on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Pro Bono Honor Roll for 2017.
The Honor Roll recognizes students’ commitment to pro bono legal work in the 2017 calendar year. Also appearing on the list are law students from Boston University, Northeastern University, and Boston College, among others.
Honor Roll awardees
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services administers the Honor Roll, which also recognized 24 law firms, solo practitioners, nonprofit organizations, and other legal practitioners. Some of the Boston firms honored for 2017 include Nixon Peabody LLP, Goodwin Proctor LLP, and Foley Hoag LLP.
Law students have their own Honor Roll criteria, including performing at least 50 hours of pro bono (volunteer) service throughout their time in law school. These services must be unpaid and serve the legal needs of those who have limited access to legal representation or who are underrepresented in the legal system.
This year, the following New England Law students were honored for their hard work in 2017:
- Araba Adjei-Korantong
- Brigitte Allison Alexander
- Nicholas Babaian
- Lauren Brooks Cunningham
- Emily Dasey
- Meghan Dougherty
- Deborah Duggin
- Kaneesha Dukes
- Edwin Famila
- Rebecca Golden
- Daniel Griffith
- Samantha Kotusky
- Bria Lewis
- Laura Melendez Santiago
- Stephanie Naranjo
- Sama Sayej
- Alison Shea
- Jordan A. Strand
- Aidan Stuart
- Czara Anne S. Venegas
- Nikia Williams
The full list of organizations and students appears on the Massachusetts Court System Pro Bono Honor Roll webpage.
Law student pro bono work
New England Law students are known for giving back to the community. Students volunteer with faculty on their own time, engage in pro bono clinical course work, and provide pro bono services through their extracurricular organizations. (In fact, many of the students on the SJC Pro Bono Honor Roll also appear on New England Law’s Public Service Honor Roll, where students receive a notation on their transcript for a minimum of 25 hours.)
"I strongly believe that we would not be where we are today if it were not for the people who helped us along the way,” said Kaneesha Dukes ’19. “Although I am not pursuing a future in public interest work, I still plan to partake in pro bono projects and continue to help others when I can."
Kaneesha is the student manager of the CORI Initiative, a component of the Criminal Justice Project at New England Law. Thousands of people in greater Boston carry the burden of a criminal record, many for minor and non-violent crimes. Individuals with Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) are often ineligible for employment, housing, and financial services. The CORI Initiative connects New England Law student volunteers with qualified clients to help them through the sealing process.
“Since majoring in criminal justice in undergrad, I have looked to contribute to a solution of the industrial prison complex and the loss of individual rights caused by incarceration,” said Aidan Stuart ’19, who also works on the CORI Initiative at New England Law. “After graduation, I hope to work in criminal defense or investigations, and plan to continue helping indigent clients seal their criminal records.”
Other pro bono services provided by New England Law students include:
- Providing parents in housing transition with vital information about the education rights of homeless children
- Providing free income tax consultation with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program
- Working with the Human Rights and Immigration Law Project to make a real difference in immigration, refugee, and human rights-based work
- Representing indigent clients who are victims of domestic violence in family law matters
“So many of our students are passionate about using their legal education to assist individuals without adequate representation,” said Nicole Park, Assistant Director of Career Services and Pro Bono Coordinator. “It is particularly inspiring to see them making pro bono work a priority even while juggling rigorous academics, part-time jobs, and clinical commitments.”
Learn more about pro bono opportunities for law students in Boston.