More than 300 members of the UCLA School of Law community gathered for the second annual U. Serve L.A. celebration on April 9, raising $100,000 for UCLA Law’s initiatives in public interest law.
Co-sponsored by UCLA Law’s David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy and the UCLA Law Alumni Association, the event at the Edison Downtown featured live entertainment, cocktails, a silent auction and the presentation of awards to several distinguished alumni and current students.
A moment of special recognition was reserved for Jyoti Nanda, UCLA Law’s Binder Clinical Teaching Fellow and a member of the core faculty of the Epstein Program and the Critical Race Studies program. Part of the UCLA Law faculty since 2003, Nanda teaches the law school’s impactful Youth and Justice Clinic and was roundly praised as a dedicated leader who was instrumental in growing the public interest program at UCLA Law, imbuing the school with a heightened passion for public service. She will join the faculty at Golden Gate University School of Law later this year.
Margie Estrada ’04, chief counsel of the California State Senate Judiciary Committee, was honored with the Trailblazer Award for her immigrant rights advocacy. The Recent Alumni Award went to celebrated political activist Ian Madrigal ’14, a.k.a. the Monopoly Man; Doug Smith ’13, a staff attorney with Public Counsel’s Community Development Project; and juvenile justice champion Vivian Wong ’17, who is an education attorney and Skadden Fellow at Learning Rights Law Center. Sheppard Mullin partner Samantha Grant ’98, a leader in diversifying the legal profession, won the Pro Bono Award.
Student award winners included Harpreet Ahuja LL.M. ’19, Allyne Andrade e Silva LL.M. ’19, Julie Dargus ’20, Tali Gires ’20, Alexis Ixtlahuac ’21, Kate Lewis ’19, Sasha Novis ’19 and Jordan Palmer ’21.
Thanks to the generosity of presenting sponsors Matt Epstein, Barbara Jacobs and the Edison Downtown, as well as scores of other donors, all proceeds went to support UCLA Law’s robust slate of public interest programs, including learning trips, in-school events, summer fellowships supporting more than 200 UCLA Law students each year, and career development opportunities for students who aim to pursue careers as public interest lawyers.
The Epstein Program stands among the nation’s most innovative and successful law school public interest programs. In 20 years, more than 575 graduates of the program have gone on to advance social justice in the public, private, nonprofit and academic sectors.