Emily Yates, a second-year law student and Thomas More Scholar at Gonzaga Law School, recently received a “Lifesaver Award” from the Volunteer Lawyers Program in Tucson, Arizona. United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer was the keynote speaker at the awards banquet and presented Emily with her award.
The Volunteer Lawyers Program of Southern Arizona Legal Aid (VLP) matches pro bono attorneys with low-income clients in need of civil legal assistance. Every year, the 1,200 attorneys and law students who volunteer through the VLP give the generous gift of time, service, and expertise to thousands of Arizonans who would not otherwise have access to justice. The Lifesaver Award honors the individuals who “rescue” VLP clients most often throughout the year.
Yates, originally from Spokane, studied sociology at Beloit College in Wisconsin. She said she decided to attend Gonzaga Law School based on its “reputation of supporting public interest law and its support of working with under-served and underrepresented populations.”
Yates said that during her time in law school she’s realized that learning never stops; upon graduation she hopes to continue her public interest work, specializing in domestic relations law.
Ms. Yates was able to spend the summer working at the VLP thanks to a grant she received from the Gonzaga Public Interest Law Program (GPILP). She was one of five students who received grants for the summer of 2009, enabling her to volunteer full time with the VLP. The GPILP raises money throughout the school year to provide grants to students committed to working for a public service organization. These grants provide Gonzaga Law students with a meaningful work experience and help Gonzaga Law School fulfill its public service mission.