U. Serve L.A.

UCLA Law’s Public Interest Celebration, Auction & Awards.

U. Serve L.A. is UCLA Law's annual celebration of all things public interest and pro bono, featuring awards for outstanding public interest and pro bono contributions from the UCLA Law student, alumni, faculty, and staff community. Proceeds from U. Serve L.A. support public interest and pro bono initiatives that enable UCLA Law students to support the needs of underserved communities and make lasting changes in Los Angeles and beyond.

2024 U. Serve L.A. Celebration

We look forward to celebrating on March 3, 2024 our newest U. Serve L.A. award recipients. To purchase tickets, sponsorships or acknowledgements, click here. We are excited to welcome back many alumni of the Epstein Program and honor members of the UCLA Law public interest and pro bono community.

To support U. Serve L.A., visit the following links:

Alumni Honorees

  • David Pettit ‘75, for tirelessly advocating for clean air and communities 
  • Retu Singla ‘01, for unwavering advocacy as a movement lawyer for working people 
  • Do Kim ‘02, for fiercely advancing racial justice and defending civil rights   
  • Elizabeth Barros ‘03, for zealous defense of those entangled in the criminal and immigration legal systems 

Faculty Honoree

  • Karin Wang, for steadfast dedication to the next generation of public interest advocates.

Student Honorees

  • Ben Gerstein '25, for his dedication to human rights and racial justice. 
  • Maria Beaucage '25, for her leadership in food justice at UCLA. 
  • Jet Harbeck '25, for their leadership and support of the queer and trans community at UCLA Law. 
  • Brittany Chung '24, for her leadership in pro bono and reproductive justice. 
  • Angelica D’Egidio '24, for her leadership in pro bono and education equity. 
  • .Brisely Martinez '24, for transforming UCLA Law’s community for formerly incarcerated and systems-impacted students. 
  • Nora Browning '24, for her advocacy on behalf of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. 
  • Courtney Taylor '24, for her tireless commitment to the rights of people in the criminal legal system. 
  • Sara Poursafar (LL.M.), for expanding community and partnership on immigrant and civil rights at UCLA Law. 
  • Elizabeth Mzungu (LL.M.), for her dedication to providing legal services to underserved communities. 
  • Natalie Velasco (M.L.S.), for her commitment to prison education and the rights of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. 

UCLA Law’s U. Serve L.A.

UCLA Law invites you to join in celebrating and supporting our incredible public interest community and robust public interest initiatives through U. Serve L.A

Your Impact

  • Supporting Service Learning Trips

    See how UCLA Law’s Service Learning Trips to Dilley, Texas provide necessary support to asylum seekers and critical training to future public interest advocates.

  • Testimonials from Summer Funding Recipients

    "This clerkship offered me the opportunity to hone my client skills. It also helped me realize my love for direct service work…Additionally, I left this clerkship with four mentors who are truly engaged and interested in being of assistance…I was so grateful to be able to spend my summer with Legal Aid at Work and to receive funding to make this possible.”
    -Suzanne Dombkowski (UCLA Law ’21)

    “My summer at The Bronx Defenders was very rewarding and challenging and affirmed my commitment to public defense. I could not have had such an incredible experience in New York City and at The Bronx Defenders without this summer fellowship.”
    –Yuri Han (UCLA Law ’20)

    “My experience this summer not only empowered me because it allowed me to develop my skillset, but [also] because I was surrounded by people who excel in their fields. Meeting so many people whose skills, passion and perseverance I can aspire towards is a  great start into 2L and I would not have been able to do it without [this] funding.”
    –Sarah Rahimi (UCLA Law ’19)

Past Honorees

  • 2023 Honorees

    Student Honorees

    • Niki Nguyen, free Pierre (1L);
    • Tabitha Leonards, Elaina Vermeulen (2L);
    • Doreen Govari, Ansley Guthrie (3L);
    • Lina Cordoba (LL.M.); and
    • Kyna Collins (M.L.S.).

    Alumni Honorees

    • David Lash '80, for building a pro bono ethic and culture among private lawyers;
    • Shiu-Ming Cheer '00, for fiercely advocating and organizing for immigrant rights and justice;
    • Misty Sanford '05, for building a diverse pipeline of future lawyers and significant pro bono work;
    • Frankie Guzman '12, for championing systems-impacted youth, particularly youth of color; 
    • Kristen Johnson '13, for advocating and litigating for racial justice; and
    • Geneva Thompson '16, for leadership on tribal and environmental issues.
  • 2022 Honorees

    Student Honorees

    • Joseph Gaylin, Shireen Jalali-Yazdi (1L);
    • Joseph Kim, Nicole Powell (2L);
    • Christian Gutierrez, Shyann Murphy, Joe Philipson (3L);
    • Alexandre Ferraro, Deryne Sim (LL.M.); and
    • Eduardo Miranda (M.L.S.).

    Alumni Honorees

    • Dorothy Wolpert '76, for fighting pro bono for justice for the poorest and most vulnerable residents of Los Angeles;
    • Nana Gyamfi '92, for trailblazing activism on behalf of human rights and Black lives;
    • Marisa Hernandez Stern '10, for championing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession;
    • Tasha Hill '14, for fierce advocacy on behalf of LGBTQIA+ people in the criminal legal system; and
    • Andres Kwon '16, for fiercely defending immigrants in a punitive criminal legal system.
  • 2021 Honorees

    Student Honorees

    • Tiana Cherbosque, Korbin Felder, Jasmine Robinson & Melissa Segarra (1L Honorees)
    • Yasmin Abusaif, Lydia Heye, Jackie Park, Jessica Xu & Maya Chaudhuri (2L Honorees)
    • Maggie Gaffney, Shaunita Hampton & Rodrigo Padilla-Hernandez (3L Honorees)
    • Michelle Edgar, Seadimo Tlale & Brandon White (LL.M. and M.L.S. honorees)

    Faculty and Staff Honorees

    • Scott Cummings, Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics and Former Epstein Program Faculty Director
    • Brenda Kim, Former Manager of Operations and Events for UCLA Law's Public Interest Programs
    • Victor Narro, Project Director for the UCLA Labor Center and Epstein Program 2L Seminar Instructor
  • 2020 Honorees

    View the video recognizing the 2020 U. Serve L.A. Honorees at UCLA Law’s Public Service Challenge Launch Celebration

    Student Honorees

    • Grace Carson & Nina Papachristou (1L Honorees)
    • Christopher Galeano & Ming Tanigawa-Lau (2L Honorees)
    • Amanda Brown, Stacy Lee & Sonni Waknin (3L Honorees)
    • Marina de Oliveira Reis & Thamsanqa Malusi (LL.M. Honorees)

    Alumni Honorees

    • Stewart Kwoh ’74 (Trailblazer Award)
    • Diego Cartagena ’03 (Alumni Award)
    • Steven Shafer ’15 & CT Turney-Lewis ’11 (Recent Alumni Award)
  • 2019 Honorees

    View 2019 U. Serve L.A. Photos

    Student Honorees

    • Alexis Ixtlahuac & Jordan Palmer (1L Honorees)
    • Julie Dargus & Tali Gires (2L Honorees)
    • Kate Lewis & Sasha Novis (3L Honorees)
    • Allyne Andrade e Silva & Harpreet Ahuja (LL.M. Honorees)

    Alumni Honorees

    • Margie Estrada ’04 (Trailblazer Award)
    • Samantha Grant ’98 (Pro Bono Award)
    • Ian Madrigal ’14, Doug Smith ’13 & Vivian Wong ’17 (Recent Alumni Award)

    Special Recognition

    • Jyoti Nanda, UCLA Law Faculty 2003-2019
  • 2018 Honorees

    View 2018 U. Serve L.A. Photos

    Student Honorees

    • Stephano Medina & Kanwalroop Singh (1L Honorees)
    • Yadira Gutierrez Vargas & Ihaab Syed (2L Honorees)
    • Beth Kent & Norma Ventura (3L Honorees)

    Alumni Honorees

    • Jerilyn López Mendoza ’96 (Trailblazer Award)
    • Nicole Howell ’13 (Pro Bono Award)
    • Stacy Tolchin ’01 (Alumni Award)
    • Theresa Zhen ’14 (Recent Alumni Award)

    Special Recognition

    • Cathy Mayorkas, Founding Executive Director of the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy & Office of Public Interest Programs 1997-2017

2020 U. Serve L.A. Honorees

The 2020 U. Serve L.A. honorees were recognized at UCLA Law’s Public Service Challenge Launch Celebration.

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