June 08, 2011
For Rosanna Eugenio, public service was much more than just a requirement for her Tulane Law School degree. She saw pro bono work as an opportunity, and after volunteering more than 700 hours in her Tulane career, she earned both her law diploma and a coveted statewide award.
May law grad Rosanna Eugenio earns a pro bono award from the Louisiana State Bar Association in a ceremony at the Louisiana Supreme Court building in downtown New Orleans. (Photo by Claire Barry)
At a May 24 ceremony in the Louisiana Supreme Court building in New Orleans, Eugenio received a Law Student Pro Bono Award from the Louisiana State Bar Association in recognition of her work with immigrant populations in New Orleans. The award cites her “for providing significant support for legal services to Louisiana’s indigent.”
Only four such awards are given annually by the bar association to outstanding law students from Tulane and Southern, Loyola and Louisiana State universities.
Julie Jackson, who nominated Eugenio for the honor, said the May graduate’s 700 hours of pro bono work set a law school record. “To donate that much time and to do so much good for so many, while continuing as a full-time law student, is an amazing accomplishment,” said Jackson, who is the assistant dean for public interest programs at the law school.
It was Jackson who recommended the immigration work, a decision that Eugenio calls “a pivotal moment in my life and career.” Over the next three years, Eugenio volunteered at the Loyola Immigration Clinic, working on cases involving asylum and refugees, domestic violence, human trafficking and other crimes. She also participated in “Know Your Rights” presentations to immigrants.
Eugenio, a native of Queens, N.Y., whose parents immigrated from the Dominican Republic, has encouraged students to see the law school’s pro bono requirement “as an opportunity — you can do something you love to do or do something new and different.” She hopes to stay in the city and continue promoting community and public interest work.
Since May 2010, Tulane University Law School students as a whole have logged more than 23,000 pro bono hours, benefitting nearly 130 different organizations and placements. The Pro Bono Project of Southeastern Louisiana recognized and applauded the law school this past December by naming Tulane the “2010 Law School of the Year.” The recent award recognizes the law school’s longstanding and flourishing dedication to pro bono work.
A prerequisite of graduation, pro bono work has no impact on academic credits; individual transcripts reflect the total number of certified pro bono hours performed by the individual student. All pro bono work is performed under attorney supervision.
TULANE UNIVERSITY NEW WAVE
contributed to this story.