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Civil Justice Clinic volunteers earn top award for efforts

June 03, 2008

The Civil Justice Clinic at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law recently received a prestigious pro bono award for providing legal services to Arizonans who’ve been scammed out of their homes.

Jennifer Barnes, director of the college’s clinical program and the Civil Justice Clinic, along with clinical professor Bob Dauber and several law students, accepted the Frank X. Gordon Jr. Traveling Award at a reception April 30. The award was given by the Arizona Supreme Court’s chief justice, Ruth V. McGregor.

The award is the highest honor presented annually by the Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP), a joint project of the Maricopa County Bar Association and Community Legal Services.

Patricia Gerrich, VLP director and an alumna of the College of Law, said the clinic, its students, faculty, staff and supporters deserve the honor because of their work with plaintiffs in five challenging real-estate fraud cases.

“VLP appreciates the many hours of service that law students and faculty have provided to represent low-income families,” says Gerrich, a 1983 College of Law alumna. “The pro bono representation they provide can help families get justice and avoid losing their homes, or get a fresh start for themselves and their children.”

The award is named for Gordon, a former chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court who retired in 1992. It was created as a traveling trophy to recognize individuals and groups of legal advocates who further the cause of ensuring equal access to justice for those who can’t afford representation in civil law matters.