Lena Silver ’13 is the winner of this year’s Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Service Award, performing the highest number of pro bono service hours in the Class of 2013. During Silver’s time at HLS, she provided 2,270 hours of free legal services.
In addition to volunteering with the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP) her 1L year, Silver worked at least 20 hours per week at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau during her 2L and 3L years. By transforming the Bureau’s weekly housing eviction community education program, she had a significant impact on improving the services to pro se litigants, 95% of whom have no representation in housing court.
She also designed her own independent project at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, working on the Ensuring Success in Schools Act. She drafted a model school policy designed to ensure that students who are parents, expectant parents, or survivors of domestic or sexual violence stay in school, stay safe and complete their education.
Silver, who was awarded an HLS Public Service Venture Fund Fellowship, will work at the Shriver Center after graduation.
The Class of 2013 as a whole performed 342,069 hours of free legal service while at HLS, an average of 596 hours per student.
Among the Class of 2013, there were three other students who performed over 2,000 hours of work during their time at HLS: Jordi Torres, Genevieve Bonadies and Bradley Jenkins.
HLS requires all students to perform 40 hours of pro bono services, but most go far beyond. This year, 112 students performed more than 1,000 hours of pro-bono service. The students volunteered at 545 different organizations in 41 countries and 42 states.
The Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Service Award is granted each year in honor of Professor Andrew Kaufman, 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 an honorarium. The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs annually determines the winner based on records of total completed pro bono hours submitted by students.