May 28, 2008
GMU Law Student Wins Pro Bono Award
Updated with Pictures 8/01/08
Ashley R. Brott, a student at the George Mason University School of Law, is the recipient of the Virginia State Bar’s 2008 Oliver White Hill Student Pro Bono Award.
The award, named for a late Virginia civil rights litigator, recognizes a law student’s commitment to uncompensated or minimally compensated pro bono work and other public service. It is bestowed by the VSB Committee on Access to Legal Services.
Brott is the first GMU student to win the Hill Award.
While a full-time law student in 2006, Brott developed the LSNV-GMU Intake Initiative, a student-led program that helps Legal Services of Northern Virginia conduct interviews of applicants seeking legal assistance. The program operates thirty hours weekly to interview potential clients about issues that include family, consumer, bankruptcy, and housing law.
Brott recruited about thirty students, who pledged thirty-five hours to pro bono during the 2007-08 school year. Brott publicized the program, trained new volunteers, and supervised their work.
From the beginning, when Brott approached school officials about expanding pro bono opportunities for students, “[s]he had a definite vision,” Annamaria Nields, assistant dean for academic administration, wrote in a nomination letter. “The task may have seemed insurmountable to some – particularly to a full-time law student – but Ms. Brott was passionate about the need to motivate students and determined to tackle the job.”
Brott, who was raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature from the University of Colorado, and she is fluent in Spanish and French. An interest in conflict resolution led her to law school. Scheduled to graduate this May, she is considering international work, perhaps for a nonprofit that focuses on democracy building or legal reform.
The Hill Award was presented during the VSB’s Pro Bono and Access to Justice Conference on May 22, 2008, at the Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington.