Multiple members of the Rutgers Law community– including one faculty member, six students, a community partner, and a recent graduate – were named recipients of the 2018 Rutgers–Camden Chancellor’s Awards for Civic Engagement. The awards serve to call attention to the exceptional work being done by thousands of members of the Rutgers community.
"The Rutgers University–Camden community is dedicated to supporting the citizens of New Jersey as they solve problems, meet challenges, and seize opportunities," said Chancellor Phoebe A. Haddon in a statement to the community.
"It is in the DNA of our students, faculty, and alums to use their legal training and skills to serve others in need," said Dean Michael Cahill. "Through approximately 15 pro bono projects and five clinics at our Camden location, in addition to a myriad of additional civic engagement opportunities, Rutgers Law promotes social justice and greater equality in our community."
Meredith Schalick, Clinical Professor of Law, was recognized for her academic civic engagement. "It is an honor to be recognized with this award," said Schalick. "It has been my pleasure to work with my students my colleagues and community stakeholders to help address the unmet legal need of criminal records expungements in New Jersey. I look forward to continuing this work to help our neighbors and partners."
Rutgers Law students Spencer Chorney '19, Jim Clancy '19, Blair Gerold '18, and Kristen Kispert '19 were recognized for their leadership of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance pro bono project. They assisted low-income members of the Camden community who wanted to fulfill their obligations as taxpayers. Every year the Project brings approximately $500,000 in refunds back into the Camden community.
Joanna Gardner '19 and Brandon Pugh '18 were also named award recipients in recognition of their respective public interest efforts in immigration and public education. Gardner is a Social Justice Scholar and a Rutgers Immigrant Justice Fellow, a role in which she helps organize community outreach events and pro bono opportunities related to immigration law, and also serves on Rutgers Law Review. Pugh currently serves as a board member on the Moorestown Board of Education.
"I am gratified that our students and partners are being recognized for their extraordinary contributions to the community," said Jill Friedman, Associate Dean for Pro Bono and Public Interest. "There is a huge justice gap in this country; most people can't afford to pay a lawyer. But pro bono is a core value of the profession and certainly of our law school."
Additionally, Robert Ransom ’16, an Associate in Archer, was recognized for his significant contributions to the youth of the city of Camden through his leadership roles with the LEAP Academy University Charter School and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
South Jersey Legal Services received the community partner award. SJLS partners with Rutgers Law frequently on pro bono initiatives and their Private Attorney Involvement Program recently worked with students enrolled in "Prisoner Reentry: Legal Issues" to conduct "speed screening" appointments for New Jersey residents trying to determine their eligibility to expunge their criminal histories.
The 2018 Rutgers Law-affiliated recipients of the Rutgers–Camden Chancellor’s Awards for Civic Engagement are:
Academic Civic Engagement
Meredith Schalick, Clinical Professor of Law
Student Civic Engagement
Joanna Gardner '19
Brandon Pugh '18
Law School VITA Tax Prep Pro Bono Site Leaders: Spencer Chorney '19, Jim Clancy '19, Blair Gerold '18, Kristen Kispert '19
Alumni Civic Engagement
Robert Ransom ’16
South Jersey Legal Services
The accomplishments of these honorees were celebrated during a special reception at Rutgers–Camden.