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Congrats to 2013 Olender Foundation Award Winners!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Libertelli
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Congrats to UDC David A. Clarke School of Law Earl H. Davis Award Recipients!

Each year, the Jack and Lovell Olender Foundation organizes a grand event and presents awards to individuals including the "Unsung Hero", the "Generous Heart," "Hero in Law," among others. Hundreds of prominent members of the bar, civic leaders and others attend. Also honored are six students from Howard Law for academic achievement and the six top UDC David A. Clarke School of Law clinic students – and each receive a $1,000 stipend! So, congratulations one and all!

Pictured below: Jonell Henderson, Amanda Walsh and Steven Williams, all with Dean Shelley Broderick.  Other student award winners were Sean Brown, Johan Fatemi and Tizoc Perez-Casillas

Sean Brown, left, served as a Student Advocate in the Housing and Consumer Law Clinic, where he represented numerous clients, including a client embroiled in litigation in three forums. Sean successfully settled and won dismissal of all three cases on behalf of his client, the president of a tenant’s association. The cases centered around a landlord who engaged in a series of retaliatory acts to thwart the formation of a tenant’s association. This included both an eviction case and a Federal trademark suit. Sean helped the client assert a retaliation defense and her right to form a tenant’s association under DC law, both defensively and through an affirmative administrative action. He negotiated a beneficial settlement of both the eviction and administrative cases. He then asserted the DC housing law defenses in federal court, which resulted in the landlord dismissing the trademark lawsuit, and thus eliminated the client’s potential liability of thousands of dollars. Sean continued his work in the Housing and Consumer Law Clinic over the summer as an Equal Justice America Fellow. He currently represents clients in family law matters through the HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic and is a Teaching Assistant for both the Housing and Consumer Law Clinic and Civil Procedure I and II. Sean is also a Dean’s Fellow and the Publications Editor of the UDC Law Review.

In the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, Johan Fatemi, right, demonstrated a zeal for effective immigration advocacy on behalf of his client facing removal in deportation proceedings. Through Johan’s efforts, the Clinic was able to obtain a certification from law enforcement that will enable his client to apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for a U-Visa, which is available to noncitizen victims of enumerated crimes who have assisted law enforcement in the prosecution of such crimes. Using Virginia state family law and domestic violence statutes, Johan crafted a well-reasoned legal theory that his client’s same-sex relationship status qualified him for the certification. Johan remains closely involved in the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic by serving as Teaching Assistant during the 2013-2014 school year. Johan has also been a Teaching Assistant for Torts I and II and served as Mentor in the Law and Justice Program. Currently, Johan is Managing Editor of the Law Review, a Merit Scholar, recipient of the 2013-2014 Raymond F. Hossfeld Scholarship award, and a Dean’s Fellow. He will spend his Spring semester as an intern legal clerk in the Justice Department’s Executive Office of Immigration Review.

During the Spring 2013 semester, Jonell Henderson was a dedicated student-attorney in the Legislation Clinic. She was assigned to the office of Councilmember Yvette Alexander, who was also the Chair on the Committee on Health. Jonell worked closely with the Committee Director, the Legislative Counsel and the Senior Policy Analyst. She demonstrated outstanding legal writing and research skills and contributed to several vital projects, including reviewing and editing the Patient Protection Act, which was introduced February 5, 2013. Jonell also assisted the Office with hearing procedures, summarizing legislation, and drafting questions for hearings. In sum, Jonell proved herself as a loyal, reliable and essential team member of Councilmember Alexander’s office. Jonell currently serves the community in the HIV/AIDS Clinic and is employed as a Circulation Assistant in the Law Library.

Tizoc Perez-Casillas, at right, a Dean’s Fellow, distinguished himself as a student advocate in the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) by assisting D.C. residents in resolving their tax issues with the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Taxation and the Internal Revenue Service. Tizoc successfully assisted multiple taxpayers in recovering overdue tax refunds, initiated an Offer in Compromise with the IRS for a non-English speaking resident and submitted an amended return for a disabled D.C. resident, thereby reducing the resident’s overall tax burden. Currently, Tizoc serves D.C. non-profits and single-member LLC’s in the Community Development Law Clinic. He helped a non-profit submit various trademark applications to protect the name and logo of the organization and he composed an operating agreement outlining a single-member LLC’s business purpose and organizational structure. Tizoc continues to advise enterprises and entrepreneurs, which supports and empowers the community, all while continuing to excel academically.

Amanda Walsh, an evening law student, served as a student- attorney in the HIV/AIDS clinic where she focused on providing legal support to HIPS, a DC based non-profit promoting the health, rights, and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by sexual exchange and/or drug use through harm reduction services, community engagement, and advocacy. As part of her work with HIPS, Amanda helped collaborate on a variety of legal-based initiatives to assist individuals living with or at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. This work included offering legal assistance to individuals at a weekly needle exchange, providing on-call legal services to the 24-hour HIPS hotline, and leading the development of policy proposals to expand harm reduction efforts in the District of Columbia to combat the spread of HIV. Amanda is a Dean’s Fellow, Senior Editor for the Law Review, member of the 2014 Graduation Committee, and was the first Treasurer of the Evening Law Student Association. Amanda works full-time as a federal lobbyist and is a member of the Junior League of Washington where she volunteers at the DC General Shelter with the Literacy Lab, a Washington D.C. based non-profit organization providing early literacy intervention to low-income children in the D.C. metro area.

During the Spring 2013 semester, Steven Williams, right, served as a Student Advocate in the Community Development Law Clinic, where he worked directly with community service organizations and helped them obtain federal tax-exempt status and navigate through legal and regulatory barriers. Most notably, Steven helped establish a credit union and non- profit organization aimed at creating personal wealth for D.C. residents through financial literacy and personal empowerment. In addition to serving in the Community Development Law Clinic, Steven worked as a Teaching Assistant for the Mason Enhancement Program and volunteered at the National African American Drug Policy Institute at Howard University. Steven currently serves the student body through numerous student organizations, including as Vice President of the Black Men's Law Society, 3L Senator in the Student Bar Association, Community Service Director of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), and Teaching Assistant for the Academic Success Program. Steven is now serving as a Student Advocate in the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic.

Captions for photos below:

Caption One: (left to right) Mr. Wil Haygood, Ms. Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET (Black Entertainment Television), Mr. Charles Allen award recipient of the Unsung Hero Award, Jack Olender, founder of the Olender Foundation, and Admiral Steven Rochon, former White House maiter’d at the pre- Awards reception at Ancora Restaurant on Monday evening, December 1, 2013./Photo by Marshall Cohen

Caption Two: Charles Allen (left) representing his father Eugene "The Butler” Allen being presented with the "Unsung Hero” Award by Jack Olender (middle), Founder of The Olender Foundation, Ms. Sheila Johnson (middle), co – founder of BET and Mr. Wil Haygood (right) who first wrote about the butler and maiter’d who served eight Presidents of the United States./Photo by Marshall Cohen

Caption Three: Dr. Frank Smith (left) Founder of The African American Civil War Memorial grant recipient chosen by Awardee, Kim Keenan, General Counsel of the NAACP, Jack Olender and Congressman James Clyburn (right) who presented the "Generous Heart "Award to Beverly Perry (middle), retired Vice President of Pepco and the Chairman of the Board of The African American Civil War Memorial. / Photo by Marshall Cohen

Caption Four: Singing group "Colorz” escorted by two Civil War re-enactors, who led the entire theater of 300 attendees in singing "Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” at the 28th Annual Olender Foundation Awards. / Photo by Marshall Cohen

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