April 8, 2013
BROOKLYN, NY – On Thursday, March 21, Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest (“BLSPI”) held its twenty-third annual Auction fundraiser. The student organization played host to Brooklyn Law School (“BLS”) students, faculty, and alumni who turned out in force to support students pursuing careers in public interest law. In conjunction with funding from BLS, the money raised from the Auction will go toward BLSPI’s prestigious Fellowship program. The Fellowship provides funding to 20 students pursuing unpaid internships for the summer.
BLSPI held the Auction in the Forchelli Center of Feil Hall – BLS’s landmark student residence building. Students worked for over nine months to prepare for this enormous event. The event was spearheaded by the incredibly capable team of Brendan Rigby, ’13, Emily Shoor, ’14, and Homer Turgeon, ’14. They were joined by First-Year Delegates Sara Friedman, ’15, Brendan Gibbons, ’15, and Rebecca Naeder, ’15, and a group of over 70 dedicated law students who, despite their busy schedules, found time to assist in making this event a reality.
“We are so grateful for the incredible amount of energy and passion put forth by the Auction Co-Chairs and their committee,” said Jessica Rickards, ’13, Co-Chair of BLSPI. Erin Ogburn, ’14, also a BLSPI Co-Chair, added “The Auction is an incredible event, and vital to the sustainability of our organization. As BLSPI’s initiatives continue to grow, the money raised at the Auction goes toward programming aimed at supporting students pursuing careers working for nonprofits and government agencies. We would like to thank everyone who contributed, both to the Auction and to the success of BLSPI overall.”
The exact amount raised is not finalized. However, with corporate sponsorships, individual donations, receipts from the door, and winning bids, it is estimated that the Auction brought in over $40,000.
BLS’s new Dean, Nick Allard, and his wife, Marla, gave an unprecedented number of donations to this year’s Auction. One popular lot included opening night dinner for two and a performance of a future production at the Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington, D.C., and an overnight stay in the guest suite of Dean Allard’s Georgetown home. In addition, the bidding for lunch for four with Marla Allard at Second Avenue Deli was so heated that the Allards generously responded by adding a second lunch.
“At first, I was terrified: students expected my co-chairs and me to buy their summers’ groceries and pay their rent. Nothing puts pressure on a public interest lawyer like the knowledge of a client’s expectations,” said Brendan Rigby, ’13, Auction Co-Chair. “But like any public interest law project, the community came together to tackle our monumental mission. I thank the local businesses, alumni, professors, and students who continue to ensure this event is not just fun, but fundraising.”
Homer Turgeon, ’14, also an Auction Co-Chair, added, “Personally, I want to thank the fine people working in our auction, the volunteers who put in their time and efforts. The night went as smoothly as I could’ve possibly hoped, and it was all thanks to our volunteers. To name them all would take paragraphs, because so many were willing to step up, and to name any fewer would be to suggest there was anyone who didn’t give their utmost, and I couldn’t do that.”
The BLSPI Board of Directors would like to acknowledge the BLS administration for its unwavering support of BLSPI’s efforts, most especially the Fellowship program. BLSPI would also like to thank BarBri for continuously supporting the Auction as its primary sponsor.
Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest( BLSPI) is a student-run, non-profit organization at Brooklyn Law School whose mission is to encourage and support legal work which positively impacts the lives of individuals and communities in need. BLSPI’s growing initiatives include clothing and food drives for the indigent, blood drives for the sick, a Halloween candy drive for children living in domestic violence shelters, neighborhood outreach activities, and many other events designed to benefit the local community. BLSPI is proud to provide institutional support and leadership for the growing number of student pro bono projects at Brooklyn Law School. In addition, BLSPI runs a mentorship program to assist first-year law students in adjusting to the rigors of a legal education. BLSPI recently created a competitive Michael Madow Bar Grant to recognize graduating students who have demonstrated superior dedication to the public interest during their time in law school. Finally, BLSPI’s signature initiative is a summer Fellowship program, which awards stipends to students working in volunteer summer legal positions. These programs are all made possible through the success of the annual BLSPI Auction and the support of the Brooklyn Law School community. To learn more about BLSPI, please visit www.blspi.org.