A number of Harvard Law students from the Class of 2017 received special awards during the 2017 Class Day ceremony on May 24. They were recognized for outstanding leadership, citizenship, compassion and dedication to their studies and the profession.
Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Service Award
This year’s Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Service Award was presented to Lisa K. Dicker ’17 and Nathan MacKenzie ’17.
Dicker has devoted her time at Harvard Law to public service, starting her 1L year with HLS Negotiators, serving first as a member and later as its co-president. She spent her 1L spring break in Nashville, TN, working pro bono with Equal Justice Under Law, a non-profit civil rights organization founded by two HLS alumni. During the trip, Dicker and fellow students helped challenge widespread practices that penalize the poor: jail time for failure to pay fines, cash and property seizure in the absence of criminal charges, and the failure to provide competent lawyers.
While at Harvard Law School, Dicker has not only performed more than 1,500 hours of pro bono work, but she also served as part of a corps of trained student facilitators who volunteer to facilitate discussions among members of the HLS community on challenging and politically fraught topics. She also twice served as a teaching assistant for the Negotiation Workshop.
At HLS, MacKenzie participated in Harvard Defenders, the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project, the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, and created his own independent clinical placement with the Migrants Rights Clinic at the Center of Law and Business, in Ramat Gan, Israel.
MacKenzie’s contributions to the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program have helped transform lives; his legal work was pivotal in obtaining asylum for a teenager fleeing gang violence and in preventing the imminent deportation of a woman who had been unlawfully denied a chance to present her asylum claim. He also worked long hours and late nights orchestrating the research needed for an amicus brief challenging the White House’s executive orders on immigration.
The Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Service Award is granted each year in honor of Professor Andrew Kaufman ’54, who has been instrumental in creating and supporting the Pro Bono Service Program at HLS. The J.D. student in the graduating class who performs the highest number of pro bono service hours receives the award and a $500 honorarium.
HLS requires all students to perform 50 hours of pro bono services but most go far beyond. This year, 10 students exceeded 2,000 hours of service and 100 students volunteered more than 1,000 hours.