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Stanford Law School’s New Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law Names First Public Service Award Recipients

Publication Date: 
October 25, 2006
Source: 
Stanford Law School

STANFORD, Calif., October 25, 2006—Stanford Law School’s new Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law today announced that its first National Public Service Award has been conferred upon Loyola law professor William Quigley for his work on behalf of more than 4,000 low-income, Mississippi Delta tenants who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. And the school announced that its companion award, the Alumni Public Service Award, has been granted to Christa Gannon (JD ’97), Founder and Executive Director, of Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) for her work on behalf of underserved California youth. Both recipients will be honored today at a ceremony at the Schwab Center on the Stanford campus, where they will deliver remarks.

The National Public Service Award is designated for an attorney whose work on behalf of the public has had national impact, and the Alumni Public Service Award will be given annually to a Stanford Law School alumnus/a who has similarly engaged in public service and had a significant impact on the nation or community.

Quigley, professor of law and director of the Loyola Law Clinic & the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center, is being honored for his efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Directly after Katrina devastated New Orleans, Quigley volunteered his services in hospitals, then relocated to Houston where he created a new Katrina Relief Center. He has continued helping Katrina victims by serving as the lead counsel in a case representing over 4,000 low-income tenants who were displaced and who still have not been allowed to reenter their housing by HUD and local agencies. He is also currently counsel on numerous other legal cases challenging FEMA procedures and supporting the voting rights of those displaced by hurricanes. In addition, through his work at Loyola University, Quigley helped to coordinate the efforts of organizations, law students, clinicians, and pro bono lawyers directly after the hurricanes to bring additional legal resources to an area where there was already a tremendous need for lawyers for underprivileged people.

Gannon, a committed advocate for youth, has developed innovative programs that directly benefit at-risk youth in the San Jose area. In less than ten years since graduating from Stanford Law School, she has founded and managed FLY, an organization that is changing children's lives every day. She is being honored for exemplifying what a young attorney can accomplish with the kind of passion and commitment she has shown to empowering youth.

"The Center is designed to educate and inspire students about the numerous ways in which they can use their legal education to advance the public interest,” said Lawrence C. Marshall, David & Stephanie Mills Director of Clinical Education and Associate Dean for Public Service and Clinical Education. “This year's awardees are wonderful examples of lawyers who have bettered the world in enormous ways. Bill Quigley's work with the survivors of Katrina and Christa Gannon's accomplishments for disaffected juveniles in San Jose show us all how much difference an individual can have on the lives of others."

The awards were established by the new Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law to highlight the increased attention, resources, and commitment the law school is bringing to nurturing public service practice for our students and graduates. The award will be given annually to individuals who exemplify a commitment to public service, provide models of practice that are interesting and innovative, and who have made a specific contribution for that year to the public interest legal field. The recently launched Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law is Stanford Law School's focal point for organizing programs, events, courses, and financial support to ensure law school students can pursue their goals to help people, change society, and make a better world. Stanford Law School strongly supports public interest and is committed to providing the necessary groundwork to enable graduates to achieve the careers and advance the causes that first inspired them to earn a law degree. A committee that included students, alumni, faculty, Larry Kramer, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean, and Diane Chin, director, Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law, elected the awardees.

While Stanford Law School has long been committed to encouraging students to engage in public service and public interest work, the creation of this Center will help to focus those efforts and, more importantly, will provide a springboard for enlarging and enhancing our program,” stated Dean Larry Kramer. "These new Public Service Awards are an example. With them, we hope to offer recognition to lawyers who have made important contributions and, in this way, to inspire our students to follow in their footsteps."

These awards allow us to celebrate individuals, like Bill Quigley and Christa Gannon, who have committed to full-time public interest practice," said Diane Chin, a Lecturer in Law and Director of the Center. "This year's awards honor two particularly innovative and visionary practitioners. Quigley and Gannon have not only used traditional paths to work toward justice, they have also developed innovative strategies to expand the reach of the law to benefit disenfranchised individuals and communities. Exposing students to experience first-hand how public interest lawyers represent minority interests is central to the mission of the Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law."

About William P. Quigley

Quigley, an active public interest lawyer since 1977, served as General Counsel for the ACLU of Louisiana for over 15 years. Quigley has served as an advisor on human and civil rights to Human Rights Watch USA and Amnesty International USA. In 2003, he was named the Pope Paul VI National Teacher of Peace by Pax Christi USA; in 2004 he received the SALT Teaching Award presented by the Society of American Law Teachers; and in 2006, he received the Camille Gravel Civil Pro Bono Award from the Federal Bar Association New Orleans Chapter. Quigley is also an active volunteer lawyer with School of the Americas Watch and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.

About Christa Gannon

FLY strives to reduce juvenile crime and incarceration through legal education, mentoring and leadership training. By providing at-risk and disadvantaged youth with vital information regarding the decisions they make in their lives, FLY has helped nearly 10,000 youth avoid the criminal justice system and transform from delinquent youth into positive community leaders. Founder and Executive Director, Christa Gannon was selected as one of ten people in the United States to receive funding from the George Soros Foundation to develop an innovative criminal justice program. With this seed funding Gannon started FLY. In recognition of Gannon’s abilities, in the fall of 2000, she was selected by the National Law-Related Education Consortium to be California’s State Coordinator of Law-Related Education. In this capacity she acts as the expert for the State of California supporting individuals and organizations that want to start law-related education projects. Gannon is the youngest state coordinator in the country.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, and write books and articles for academic audiences, as well as the popular press. Along with offering traditional law school classes, the school has embraced new subjects and new ways of teaching. The school’s home page is located at www.law.stanford.edu.