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California Western Students Recognized for Contributions to Community

Superior Court Judge Michael D. Washington '94 inspired the students being inducted into the Pro Bono and Public Service Honors Societies with his keynote address

California Western School of Law Dean Niels B. Schaumann and the school’s Career and Professional Development office recently honored 135 students for their commitment to pro bono and public service work. In welcoming participants to the event Dean Schaumann shared, “By giving so many hours to the community these students live up to the law school’s mission of being champions of justice.”

Ninety students were inducted into the Pro Bono Honors Society after providing at least 50 hours of volunteer legal services to the community during the past year. Together these students documented over 11,500 hours of pro bono work. Agencies that benefited from the volunteer work done by California Western students include the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Casa Cornelia Law Center, the San Diego County Public Defender and others.  Attorneys from these agencies also attended the event to demonstrate their appreciation and support for the program.

California Western students, who provide at least 50 hours of volunteer legal services to city, county, state, and federal government organizations, including the judiciary, are eligible for induction in the Public Service Honors Society. This year 45 students were recognized for their contribution to the community, volunteering more than 9,000 hours of public service. Students volunteered at agencies including San Diego County District Attorney, U.S. Attorney, and the California Attorney General as well as with many county, appellate and federal judges.

The event also featured keynote speaker, Hon. Michael D. Washington ‘94, San Diego Superior Court Judge and California Western alumnus. Washington was recently appointed to the bench after almost 20 years as a public defender. He gave an inspirational talk encouraging students to continue public service throughout their careers and lives. Washington gave compelling examples of the wide variety of opportunities to give back to the community and utilize their legal skills on behalf of others. Washington said he was proud and honored to be speaking to so many students who are committed to public service.

“Be one of the champions of justice this law school is so proud of,” said Washington. “Decide how you want to change the world – then go and do it.”

Pro Bono Honors Society

Established in 1991, California Western’s Pro Bono Program provides law students the opportunity to establish their commitment to pro bono service, while gaining valuable practical legal training. The Program recognizes students’ pro bono legal service with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, or private interests dedicated to the needs of persons of limited means and pro bono legal service with nonprofit organizations working in other areas of the law.

Public Service Honors Society

California Western’s Public Service Program was established five years ago and recognizes California Western students who provide volunteer legal services with governmental agencies. The Program provides law students the opportunity to establish their commitment to public service while gaining valuable practical legal training.