As one of its initiatives in the legal community, the AWA has committed to award $500 annually to an outstanding law clinic student from each of the two local law schools, whose work has focused on issues important to the AWA.
At Tulane, the $500 award is given to the most outstanding student in the Domestic Violence Law Clinic(as chosen by the Director of the Clinic).
At Loyola, the $500 award is given to the most outstanding student in the family law section of the Loyola Law Clinic (to be selected by the family law attorney/advisor at the Clinic).
Our 2016 AWA Recipient from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Family Law Section of the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice is Courtney M. Hollier. Courtney was chosen her outstanding clinic work and community service in the Family Law area. Professor Cheryl Prestenback Buchert, Supervisor of the Family Law Section, said “In my fourteen years of teaching law school, Courtney is one of my very best students who possesses the professionalism, work ethic, intellect, and skills to be a great and compassionate attorney.” Courtney represented indigent clients in custody, divorce, interdiction, and succession cases, and logged over 400 clinic hours this school year. Courtney was also a class leader and assisted Professor Buchert in teaching a Succession class. In addition to her clinical work, Courtney serves as the Symposium Editor for the Journal of Public Interest Law Board and coordinated the Public Interest Week events in Spring 2016, which included panels of attorneys presenting on "Children's Advocacy and Domestic Violence" and "Immigration and Children's Rights". She serves as the Fundraising Chair of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity Board, which raised money for the New Orleans Mission and collected food for Second Harvest Food Bank. Courtney also volunteered as a Judicial Intern for Judge Bernadette D'Souza in CDC and at Project SAVE for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Our 2016 award recipient from the Tulane Domestic Violence Clinic is Kristin Siegel. Kristin was an exceptional advocate for her clients during her time as a student-attorney in the Domestic Violence Clinic. She successfully represented three Clinic clients during the academic year, working closely with other student attorneys to help domestic violence survivors obtain protective orders and child custody. In her first case, Kristin represented a domestic violence survivor whose abuser had three prior domestic violence convictions, including one for strangling her in front of her young children. Despite the criminal convictions and a protective order, the client's abuser continued stalking her, forcing the client to relocate to another part of the city. Kristin and her co-counsel advocated for the client through the criminal justice system, helping to make sure that the batterer's protective order violations were enforced by the police. They also represented the client in civil court, where the client was awarded sole custody of her two young children and a permanent order of protection. In Kristin's second case, she, along with co-counsel, represented another domestic violence survivor in a contested trial for a protective order and child custody. In trial, Kristin showed an impressive ability to think quickly on her feet, and was thoughtful, skilled, and professional. At the conclusion of trial, the client was awarded a protective order and custody of her children. Finally, during her final few weeks of law school, Kristin volunteered to help with a case that was going to trial after exams. After lead counsel had to leave due to a personal emergency, Kristin quickly did the work necessary to get up to speed on a complex case that involved three years of litigation. She volunteered to take on witness directs, cross-examination, and opening statement six days before trial. With each of these clients, Kristin showed enormous empathy, compassion, and commitment. Kristin's dedication to her clients, and her support of fellow student attorneys in the Clinic, has been extraordinary.
Congratulations Courtney and Kristin!