2017 Gillis Long Public Service Awards

At Loyola University New Orleans, the motto is “men and women with and for others.” Service and social justice are part of the university mission. On April 25, the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center in the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law presented 2017 Public Service Awards to students, alumni, staff, and faculty. Each year, the center presents awards to those who have demonstrated a commitment to social justice and serving the needs of the disadvantaged.

Recipients of the esteemed award are chosen by a committee from nominations submitted to the Gillis Long office.

The 2017 recipients include:

• Bethany Breaux, ‘17: Breaux, a second-year law student, serves as the Mission and Identity Chair for the Student Bar Association. Bethany has led numerous community service initiatives, including a gift collection for Toys for Tots, a toiletries collection for the Harry Thompson Center, and a service opportunity at Lantern Light.

• The Honorable Desiree Charbonnet, J.D. 94: The Honorable Desiree M. Charbonnet served as chief judge in New Orleans Municipal and Traffic Court until April 2017. Most recently, Judge Charbonnet was a leading force behind Stand with Dignity’s Warrant Clinic, which allowed people with warrants for traffic and municipal court or outstanding fines and fees to clear their records without fear of arrest.

• Dana Douglas, J.D. ’00: Ms. Douglas, a shareholder in the New Orleans office of Liskow & Lewis, serves as the president of the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Society, and she is the 2016-2017 President-Elect of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Board of Directors.

• C. Nicole Gaither, J.D. ‘12 Ms. Gaither is a staff attorney in the family law domestic violence unit at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. Ms. Gaither has represented countless low-income New Orleans families in family law and housing matters.

• Perry Graham, ‘18: Graham, a second-year student at Loyola, works with a local environmental justice collective that protests pipeline leases in the Gulf and raises awareness to the very real impact climate change has on the community. He also interns at the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice.

• Amanda Hass, ‘17: Hass, a student practitioner in the Workplace Justice Project clinic, helped coordinate a seminar with the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project, and started a professional-level website to track controversial executive actions under the Trump administration.

• Gerald Issokson, J.D. ‘86: After graduating from Loyola in 1986, Mr. Issokson practiced immigration law and then handled disability claims for vulnerable people in private practice. For the past 26 years, he has been an attorney with the Mental Health Advocacy Service, representing people in civil commitment proceedings and other mental health matters.

• Veronica Jattan ‘17: Jattan, a third-year student in the Immigration Clinic, dedicates much of her time to serving vulnerable immigrant communities. She participates in “Know Your Rights” presentations, helping to educate members of our community. She often stays late in the clinic filing asylum applications, helping other students formulate claims for their clients, and doing interviews for new clients.

• Professor Johanna Kalb: Professor Kalb joined the Loyola Law School faculty in 2008. Her research and teaching interests include constitutional law, federal courts, and the law of detention and democracy. From 2014 to 2016, Professor Kalb served as Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School. While at Yale, she helped to produce three major reports on the use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. After hearing the concerns of students in the Immigration Clinic, Professor Kalb volunteered her time, research abilities, and writing abilities to assist the clinic.

• Pierina Martynenko, ‘19: Martynenko, a first-year student at the College of Law, serves as a translator in the Immigration Clinic. She also participated in an in-take clinic in Biloxi, MS at El Pueblo, driving two hours to do intakes for five hours with other students in the clinic.

• Amanda Meadow, ‘17: Meadow, a student practitioner in the Immigration Clinic, has given numerous “Know Your Rights” presentations for vulnerable populations. She often stays in the clinic until late in the evening writing briefs, filing asylum applications, and helping other students formulate claims for their clients.

• The Honorable John J. Molaison, Jr., J.D. 86: Judge John J. Molaison, Jr. has been a judge for the 24th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Jefferson, Division E since 2007. He has performed outstanding volunteer service in the community and through the courts. For example, he is a member of the Judges in the Classroom program. The program’s goal is to gather volunteer professionals from the legal community to present law related topics to elementary, middle, and high school students in their classrooms.

• Hiram Molina: Although Mr. Molina is a full-time employee of Loyola College of Law’s Law Library, he serves as a Spanish-English interpreter in the clinic. Moreover, he also participates in community outreach events on his off days. Most recently, he volunteered at a power of attorney clinic for undocumented and mixed status families.

• Patrick Murphree, ‘17: Murphree has worked for anti-poverty, anti-racist community organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice where he excelled in working on research, drafting, and with clients. Through our Law Clinic, he has completed outstanding work for vulnerable immigrant youth. His work on Special Immigrant Juvenile cases on behalf of youth who were abused, neglected, has been excellent and in representing youth on these cases, he has demonstrated, through action, ways that lawyering is a tool for justice.

• Christine Scott ‘17: Scott is a student practitioner in our Criminal Defense Clinic. Throughout her law school career, Ms. Scott has devoted hundreds of hours a year to fight against the application of the death penalty in Louisiana, and elsewhere. As a Gillis Long Summer Intern, she worked with the Promise of Justice Initiative, a nonprofit that advocates for humane, fair, and equal treatment of individuals in the criminal justice system.

• Erika A. Zucker: Erika A. Zucker is Policy Analyst of the Workplace Justice Project (WJP) at the Loyola Law Clinic. Ms. Zucker actively coordinates local and statewide policy efforts to advocate for low-wage workers and working families in New Orleans and throughout the state of Louisiana. Her willingness to perform outreach and present workplace rights workshops to community organizations outside of her work schedule is only one of many illustrations of her commitment to the achievement of workplace equity.

 

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