Each year, C|M|LAW gives the “Learn Law. Live Justice.” Award to a graduating student who demonstrates the ideal of applying their legal education toward the cause of justice. The 2012 recipient of the award, Danielle Doza, has dedicated herself to the service of others and represents the strong commitment held by C|M|LAW’s students to participate in pro bono work.
Doza is driven to narrow the “justice gap”— the space that exists between legal needs and financial resources. As an extern for Nueva Luz Urban Resource Center, an organization that addresses poverty and health inequities in Northern Ohio, she assisted HIV/AIDS case management services by adding a legal component to their work. This transformative experience helped Doza understand the positive impact she can have by applying her legal knowledge.
“I got to see the problems first hand, I got to work directly with clients in poverty, who had mental health issues, who had language barriers – I came to understand their needs,” says Doza. “Now, I’d like to carry the pro bono practice forward to address the needs of the larger population.”
Doza plans to carry her work to Central America this summer after taking the July Bar exam. Through the Antihomophobia Legal Clinic El Salvador, she will join attorney-volunteers for 10 weeks, working to educate the judicial offices on the rights and discriminations faced by HIV positive and LGBT citizens.
Danielle Doza is not the only C|M|LAW student dedicated to the service of others. During the 2011–2012 academic year, students from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law contributed over 11,000 volunteer hours through the Pro Bono Program in activities that included:
- conducting intake for low-income clients at weekly Legal Aid Free Advice Clinics in Cleveland neighborhoods
- serving as legal advisors to high school teams in the annual City of Cleveland “Mock Trial Competition”
- teaching the U.S. Constitution in area social studies classes as part of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s 3Rs Program
- participating in weekly activities after being matched with 5th graders from George Washington Carver Elementary School through the Big Buddies/Little Buddies Mentor Program
- helping county residents regain their driver’s licenses through the Driver’s License Reinstatement Initiative
- preparing and filing taxes (after being certified by the IRS) for low-income workers through the Cuyahoga County Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition