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March 10, 2006

U.Va. Law Student to Receive the Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award

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Ryan T. Almstead, who will graduate this year from the University of Virginia School of Law, will receive the 2006 Oliver White Hill Student Pro Bono Award, bestowed by the VSB Special Committee on Access to Legal Services.

Since he began law school, Almstead has immersed himself in volunteer work. He had logged more than five hundred hours of pro bono and community service work by the fall semester of his third year. One hundred uncompensated hours were spent with the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, where he worked with the Mental Health Law Clinic and provided outreach to patients at Western State Hospital in Staunton.

Almstead, a graduate of Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., began pro bono and public service work before law school, when he volunteered at a Boston-area high school, working with English as a Second Language students, and at a nursing home in San Carlos, Costa Rica. Last summer, he worked as a housing unit clerk at the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.

He plans to work for legal aid in upstate New York after graduation. He is originally from Linlithgo, New York.

In nominating Almstead for the award, Kimberly Carpenter Emery, assistant dean at the U.Va. law school, wrote, “Ryan came to law school with the explicit goal of helping low-income clients in need of legal assistance. … It is hard to think of another student who has so consistently demonstrated a commitment to serving those members of our society who lack access to justice.???

Two Legal Aid Justice Center attorneys endorsed the nomination. “Ryan’s enthusiasm, patience and understanding breeds confidence in poor clients who often need a human boost to carry on in a difficult life,??? wrote Alex Gulotta, executive director, and John Conover.

The award will be presented during the annual VSB pro Bono Conference April 26 at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at U.Va.

The award is named for the Richmond civil rights attorney who led efforts to integrate public schools in the 1950s.

[For a picture of Mr. Almstead, please call (804) 775-0586 and leave an e-mail address where it can be forwarded.]

Updated: Mar 10, 2006