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Mason Law Student Tapped for Virginia State Bar Student Pro Bono Award

The Virginia State Bar (VSB) has announced the selection of third-year Mason Law student Ashley R. Brott as the recipient of the organization's 2008 Oliver White Hill Student Pro Bono Award.

The award, which is named for a late Virginia civil rights litigator, recognizes a law student's commitment to uncompensated or minimally compensated pro bono work and other public service. Brott will receive the Hill Award during the VSB's Pro Bono and Access to Justice Conference on May 22, 2008, at the Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington.

The first Mason Law student to have won the Hill Award, Brott developed the LSNV-GMU Intake Initiative, a student-led program that helps Legal Services of Northern Virginia to conduct intake interviews of applicants seeking legal assistance. The program operates over a 30-hour period weekly, with clients interviewed about issues that include family, consumer, bankruptcy, and housing law.

Brott publicized the program and recruited approximately 30 student volunteers, each of whom pledged to commit 35 hours to pro bono work during the 2007-08 academic year. In addition, she trained new volunteers and supervised their work.

Assistant Dean for Academic Administration Annamaria Nields says Brott "had a definite vision" when she initially approached Mason Law officials about expanding pro bono opportunities for law students. In a nomination letter, Nields wrote, "The task may have seemed insurmountable to some -- particularly to a full-time law student -- but Ms. Brott was passionate about the need to motivate students and determined to tackle the job."

Brott, who graduates in May from the law school, is considering a career in international work, possibly for a nonprofit focusing on democracy building or legal reform.