2015 Olender Foundation Award Winners Announced
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Posted by: Jordan Uhl
E: firstname.lastname@example.org; P: 202-274-5257
Each year, The Jack and Lovell Olender Foundation recognizes law students and other national and local heroes at an annual awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center. This year, Mr. Jack H. Olender will present the Earl H. Davis Award to six UDC David A. Clarke School of Law students for their outstanding service on behalf of clients in our clinical program. Please join us in congratulating these students!
Amelia French served as a student attorney in the Community Development Law Clinic, where she counseled D.C. housing cooperatives on obtaining financing for the redevelopment of a cooperative building. Amelia was also instrumental in preventing the initiation of tax foreclosure proceedings against her client for the inability to pay a drastically inflated tax bill. She negotiated with the Office of Tax and Revenue to rectify her client’s management team’s failure to timely submit a deduction packet; she mended a broken line of communication between her client and the management team; she conferred with the client’s lender and necessary third parties to facilitate the sale of a unit; and she drafted a proposal addressed to the client’s lender requesting a loan modification to separate the blanket mortgage and decrease the financial strain on the individual families.
During the Spring 2015 semester, Adrian Madsen served in the Criminal Law Clinic, zealously representing indigent clients charged with misdemeanor offenses in the District of Columbia Superior Court. Adrian’s unwavering commitment to his clients quickly became clear, not only through the passion, compassion, and creativity that he displayed when representing his own clients in a variety of hearings, but also through his forceful representation of other student attorneys’ clients in their absence. Additionally, Adrian helped a client navigate the Mental Health Community Court, working diligently to overcome the intransigence of some social service providers in the District to help his client achieve the desired outcome. Adrian extended his time in the Criminal Law Clinic in order to represent one client at trial, vigorously defending his client through all available means and ultimately serving more than 450 hours.
Simi Abrol served as a Student Attorney in the General Practice Clinic, where after extensive research on D.C. employment law and preparation for a court hearing, she successfully advocated for and obtained the reinstatement of unemployment benefits for her client. She also was entrusted to initiate the process for creating a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and develop by-laws on behalf of a local community organizer. Additionally, she performed intakes of D.C. residents seeking legal assistance and intervention services in conjunction with HIPS' ("Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive") mobile outreach program. Finally, after thorough research on license requirements for the D.C. Board of Social Work, she resolved outstanding disclosure issues on behalf of three clients.
Matthew Kaplan successfully litigated a four day jury trial in the Housing and Consumer Law Clinic, where he defended his client against a multinational insurance company on a subrogation claim with over $60,000 in damages. After three days of hearing evidence and a day of deliberation, the jury found for the defendant and never reached the question of the plaintiff’s contributory negligence. Matthew also wrote and argued a variety of in limine motions and preliminary matters, in total logging more than 500 billable hours, for a D.C. fast food worker, who is now free from a crushing debt. Matthew also served as a student attorney in the Immigration Clinic, where he successfully defended a client in removal proceedings in the Arlington Immigration Court. The client, a low-income long term D.C. resident, is now eligible to become a United States Citizen and can stay in Washington, D.C. with his family.
Maureen Murat served as a Student Attorney in the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, where she represented numerous clients in varying complicated situations. Maureen and her partner represented a detained client, a legal permanent resident, in his appeal before the Board of Immigration Appeals. The government was seeking to deport him due to several minor misdemeanor convictions. While the client successfully represented himself at trial before the Immigration Judge who cancelled his deportation due to his long duration in the United States and his role in caring for his elderly, disabled U.S. citizen parents, the government appealed the decision and argued that the client was statutorily ineligible for relief due to his convictions. Maureen wrote half of the appellate brief, and the client, after being detained for nearly two years while fighting his deportation, was released from detention and reunited with his family. Maureen also participated in the service learning program, where she provided pro bono legal services to women and children asylum seekers detained at the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes, Texas. She assisted in the reduction of a $7,500 bond to a $3,000, resulting in the release of the client and her child from detention.
Candace Holmes, a part-time evening student, served in the Legislation Clinic. In response to President Obama’s newly introduced America's College Promise Proposal, Candace was assigned to support the UDC Community College (UDC-CC) in its effort to implement a free tuition program. Realizing first-hand the significance of post-secondary education and the effect of rising tuition costs on low-income families, she researched existing and proposed laws in other states regarding free tuition at community colleges; reviewed Bill 21-55, the Community College for the All Scholarship Amendment Act of 2015, and the D.C. Promise Establishing Act of 2013; and provided a comparative analysis of both laws with legislation in various states. Throughout the summer, she advised and counseled the Director of Continuing Education at UDC-CC on best models and practices. She demonstrated excellent legal analysis and written communication competencies. At the culmination of her project, Candace submitted a 26-page paper providing recommendations for implementing a free tuition program that will change the conversation about college for many families in the District of Columbia.