News & Publications

State Bar of Georgia Selects Law School Access to Justice Award Recipients

June 20, 2016
Contact: Sarah I. Coole or sarahc@gabar.org

Atlanta –Tomisha Stanford, a recent graduate of the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in Macon, has been selected as the 2016 individual recipient of the State Bar of Georgia Law School Excellence in Access to Justice Award.

The 2016 group award recipient is the Working in the Public Interest –UGA Law Student Access to Justice Project at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens.

Presented by the State Bar of Georgia Access to Justice Committee, the State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division (YLD) and the Pro Bono Resource Center, these awards recognize law students and law student-led activities for having excelled in participation and support of a civil pro bono or legal aid program or involved in the development of a civil pro bono program to satisfy previously unmet civil legal needs or extended services to underserved segments of the population.

Stanford was nominated for the individual award by Jana J. Edmondson-Cooper, bilingual staff attorney with the Georgia Legal Services Program, who cited "Tomisha's demonstration of an intention and commitment to dedicate her career to individuals in civil matters (beginning) with a 2011 study abroad experience in Morocco, (where she) reinforced her decision to become an attorney and fostered a desire to help those who otherwise may not be able to help themselves."

Stanford also studied abroad in Costa Rica during the summer of 2014 and interned with the Center for Justice and International Law, a non-governmental, non-profit organization that protects and promotes human rights in the Americas. In the fall of 2014, Stanford volunteered with the Georgia Legal Services Program's Macon Regional Office and in the fall of 2015 worked with Mercer Law Professor Sara Gerwig-Moore on pro se cases pending before the Supreme Court of Georgia through the Habeas Project, a clinic offered by Mercer Law.

UGA Law's Working in the Public Interest project is a student-run conference held each spring on campus in Athens. Eminent practitioners from around the world come to speak about pressing issues of the day in public interest law. The conference highlights issues and practitioners who work on a wide range of critical access to justice issues.

The conference seeks to provide information and professional contacts necessary to combat the effects of poverty, social stigma and disparities in power through the vehicle of law, as practical methods for challenging the effects of poverty are often not covered in traditional law school courses.

"The committee members were impressed with the depth and the caliber these law students' access to justice activities," said U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jill Pryor, chair of the State Bar of Georgia Access to Justice Committee."We applaud the students' commitment to justice and are very grateful for all the contributions they have made to the justice system through their work and activities while in law school."

The Pro Bono Awards were highlighted at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Georgia in mid-June at Amelia Island, Fla., and in the August 2016 edition of the Georgia Bar Journal.The awards will be officially presented during the annual Pro Bono Awards Reception in October at the Bar Center in Atlanta.

###

The State Bar of Georgia, with offices in Atlanta, Savannah and Tifton, was established in 1964 by Georgia's Supreme Court as the successor to the voluntary Georgia Bar Association, founded in 1884. All lawyers licensed to practice in Georgia belong to the State Bar. Its more than 48,000 members work together to strengthen the constitutional promise of justice for all, promote principles of duty and public service among Georgia's lawyers, and administer a strict code of legal ethics.