Benefit for Justice TeamThe annual Benefit for Justice Celebration took place last Friday evening in the Locatelli Center adorned with balloons, flowers, and sparkles, and attended by almost 200 faculty, staff-educators, alumni, students, departments, and supporters. Santa Clara Law’s Center for Social Justice and Public Service (the Center) provides summer stipends each year to law students working in non-profit organizations and government agencies. For many students, this type of work is their life’s dream, and they simply would not be able to afford to embark on this experience without the summer grants. The programs have an amazing reach into the community and provide a great public service to many individuals.

The evening began with beautiful background music from both the Flamingo in the Tree quartet, including Daniel Escovar 1L, and pianist Amanda Cheung 1L. Aisha Hacker, head chair of the event, then read the land acknowledgment.

Dean Kaufman set the scene for the evening saying, “This, of course, is a great night of joy… made all the more special by our incredible auctioneer Prof David Yosifon. Thank you all of you for coming. A joyful, boisterous night is also somewhat serious and purposeful. Tonight all of us are going to “Mind the Gap” It’s a different gap though, it is a profound chasm which you know as the justice gap. There’s an incredible, profound chasm in this country around justice. A gap – a huge gap. We now know that 92%Professor David Yosifon of the legal needs of our community, our neighbors, go unmet, which means only 8% of legal needs in this country are actually served by competent, adequate lawyers. How are we going together to close that gap? Well, we are going to mind that gap tonight together.”

Professor Yosifon acted as comedic entertainment and auctioneer, while students bid on unique experiences donated by law professors and staff.  There were also a number of silent auction items for students, alumni, and faculty to vie for.

Three students who took part in the summer stipend program last year—Nikole Slaton (SAGE: Advocacy & SErvices for LGBTQ+ Elders), Melina Torres (Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, and Nicholas Voytilla (East Bay Community Law Center), spoke about the incredible experience they had due to money raised at the Benefit for Justice.

Attendees at the Benefit for JusticeAttendees were joyous in their ability to make a difference by taking part in the event.

“I’m here to support the students and to provide resources to support those students who want to do public interest in the summer. I think that’s really important for our community to support those students and to provide those opportunities to do the work that they want to accomplish.” – Professor Taylor Dalton

“I will do anything to support Santa Clara University School of Law. I think it’s an incredible program and community, and helping social justice is, I think, extremely important. It doesn’t hurt that my daughter is head of the committee and they all have done a fantastic job, and it’s a pleasure to be here.” – Mr. Hacker

“I’m really here 1). to support my friend’s efforts helping to put this together and 2). more importantly, just contribute money to a good cause whether it be helping underprivileged people in theSTudent Attenddes at the Benefit for Justice Celebration community who can’t afford legal services or whether the money goes to scholarships that help other students. I feel those are my main reasons for being here.” – Kyle Perkins 3L.

“I’m a double Bronco, so I graduated with my undergrad from Santa Clara and also my J.D. with the class of 2021, and I’m here to support the Benefit for Justice students and it’s nice to be back as an alumna.” – Tiffany Ronen, Morgan Tidalgo Sukhodrev & Azzolino LLP

This year’s Benefit for Justice was a huge success, thanks to the hard work of the student planning committee, Alisha Hacker, Jack Ladgenski, Alexia Torres, Melina Torres, and Eamon Condon; Center Faculty Director Evangeline Abriel, Director Caitlin Robinett Jachimowicz, Kerrie Bindi, countless student volunteers, and generous faculty members who donated unique experiences for students. 

See a selection of photos from the evening.

A Packed Locatelli Center for the Benefit for Justice 2024