Pro Bono Awards were presented to three Indiana Law students and a local attorney Wednesday (October 26) in a jointly sponsored ceremony hosted by the Law School, its Access to Justice Fellows, and Faegre Drinker.
“Becoming a lawyer is not just a privilege, it’s also a responsibility,” said Dean Christiana Ochoa. “And that special responsibility of being a lawyer includes serving our communities in whatever ways we’re able to. The students we recognize today have gone above and beyond in their service, and we as a school and as a local community are so grateful for their efforts.”
Indiana Law students completed nearly 6,500 hours of pro bono service over the 2021-22 academic year. The school has an aspirational goal for every student to perform at least 20 hours of pro bono service every year.
This year’s awards class recognize the students from each class who performed the most pro bono hours during the 2021-22 academic year.
Mady Lacefield, Class of 2023: Mady completed 111 hours of pro bono work with the Protective Order Project (POP), Lawyers Without Borders, and the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office. Throughout her time with POP, she has worked with numerous clients who have expressed that, without POP’s help, they would not have known how to get the help they needed or been able to afford legal assistance.
Zion Miller, Class of 2024: Zion completed 152 hours of pro bono service, and is an associate for the Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality and is currently competing in the Sherman Minton Moot Court competition. Last year Miller participated in Outreach for Legal Literacy and coached Indiana University’s undergraduate mock trial program. This year, he is the head coach for the undergraduate mock trial program.
Ahmed Enani, SJD/LLM: Ahmed joined the SJD program at Maurer School of Law in 2019, and has been volunteering with the Incarcerated Individuals Legal Assistance Project (ILAP) and POP ever since. He performed 51 hours of pro bono service last year.
Asher Waite-Jones. Asher has dedicated his professional career to supporting people impacted by racialized mass incarceration. Asher is a Staff Attorney in the Bloomington Office of Indiana Legal Services (ILS). At ILS, Asher runs the Expungement Help Desk, working alongside Maurer students to represent hundreds of low-income Hoosiers impacted by the criminal legal system. Asher and his students represent clients in expungements, motions to vacate court debt, and other matters related to collateral consequences of legal system involvement. Prior to ILS, Asher worked as a Staff Attorney and Clinical Supervisor at the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley, CA, working alongside clients impacted by carceral state debt, fines, and fees. Outside of work, Asher is on the Board of Directors and a regular volunteer at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, a local food pantry and advocacy organization in Bloomington.
Also recognized for their contributions to public service were Senior Lecturer in Law Seth Lahn, clinic coordinator Ginnie Phero, and 2022 graduate Asa Gelber. Gelber, an assistant public defender with the Cook County (Ill.) Public Defender’s Office, amassed more than 1,000 hours of pro bono service alone in 2021-22, driving weekly to Chicago to volunteer.
Ochoa also thanked Access to Justice Fellows Andrew Parra and Beka Schwartz for their assistance organizing the program and ceremony.