BU Law’s annual event honored alumna with the Victor J. Garo Award and introduced students to pro bono and public service opportunities.
On Monday, September 12, BU Law kicked off the new academic year with a Public Interest and Pro Bono Orientation and Marketplace. Attendees learned about pro bono and public service opportunities at BU Law, and helped honor distinguished alumna Pamela Hill (’77), a long-time lawyer with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lecturer in climate change and environmental justice, and leader of BU Law’s new Environmental Law Practicum, with the Victor J. Garo Public Service Award. Dean Maureen O’Rourke instituted this distinction—awarded annually to an alum demonstrating exemplary commitment to pro bono work—in 2007 to honor Garo’s 30-year pro bono commitment to a wrongful conviction case.
About Pamela Hill
Much of Pamela Hill’s career has been devoted to the EPA. She served as deputy regional counsel at the United States EPA’s New England Regional Office until her retirement from the government in 2011. Before joining the New England branch, she also worked in the Office of Water Enforcement at the EPA in Washington, DC. In 1998, she created the EPA Honors Fellowship Program in the Boston office—the program provides recent law school graduates with a two-year fellowship, and is now available in EPA offices throughout the nation.
Hill is currently a lecturer in environmental law at BU Law, where she is leading the new Environmental Law Practicum that launched in spring 2016. She has previously taught environmental law at Northeastern University School of Law, and has been a guest lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health and Vermont Law School. Hill has also recently completed a book on environmental protection, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2017.
Pro Bono and Public Service at BU Law
After a welcome from Dean O’Rourke and Hill’s recognition, during which both speakers emphasized the importance of public service and pro bono work in law school and throughout a lawyer’s career, the event introduced students to the various ways to get involved in government and public interest law at BU. With tables manned by student organizations and staff members lining the perimeter of the room, the orientation was organized into a “marketplace,” so students could visit each booth for more information on the organizations and opportunities that interested them.
An array of student organizations and staff members presented material to get students involved. BU Law student Aaron Wiener (’18) talked about pro bono spring break trips, the Career Development & Public Service Office spoke about the Pro Bono Program and public interest support at BU Law, and several Student Government Association representatives talked about student groups with public interest initiatives. “The orientation and marketplace offered a quick and helpful snapshot of ways that students can get involved,” Carolyn Goodwin, director for public service and pro bono at BU Law, explained. “We want to highlight the important public service and pro bono achievements of our alumni and bring to life the many ways our students can involve public service and pro bono work in their legal careers, whether they go on to work for a law firm, a corporation, or in a public service capacity.”
Reported by Johanna Gruber (CAS’17).