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KU law students make 2019 honor roll for pro bono service

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

LAWRENCE – Thirty-one University of Kansas School of Law students contributed 4,153 hours of free legal services over the past year, earning a spot on KU Law’s Pro Bono Honor Roll.

Students prepared tax returns for low-income residents, helped clients expunge past criminal convictions, represented the interests of children in foster care as court-appointed special advocates and worked with government agencies, prosecutors’ offices and public defenders’ offices.

“One pillar of the legal profession is to give back to the community through pro bono service, and KU Law students take this to heart,” said Meredith Schnug, clinical associate professor. “Students also gain valuable legal experience and a desire to continue serving throughout their legal career.”

Pro bono work is defined as uncompensated, law-related work that benefits the public, such as through a nonprofit organization or government agency.

The following students completed 15 hours or more of pro bono service during the 2018-2019 academic year. Students are listed by name, graduation year and hometown:

  • Bander Almohammadi, 2021, Madinah, Saudi Arabia
  • Erica Ash, 2019, Tempe, Arizona
  • Matthew Beal, 2019, South Portland, Maine
  • Erik Blume, 2019, Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Terra Brockman, 2020, Overland Park
  • Karlee Canaday, 2019, Valley Center
  • Kristen Cannon, 2019, Rexburg, Idaho
  • Robert Curtis, 2021, Olathe
  • Kirstyn Dvorak, 2021, Concordia
  • Dukgi Goh, 2020, Los Angeles
  • Tate Hughes, 2020, Austin, Texas
  • Grace Hussey, 2020, Milwaukee
  • Katy Kettler, 2019, Leawood
  • Samantha Knese, 2021, Overland Park
  • Joseph Lawrence Korbel, 2020, San Antonio
  • Viet Le, 2019, Bedford, Massachusetts
  • Samantha Natera, 2021, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico/El Paso, Texas
  • Erika Owunta, 2019, New Orleans
  • Sara Pagnotta, 2021, Leawood
  • Peter Qiu, 2021, Hutchinson
  • Ariel Rhines, 2020, Shawnee
  • Evan Rodriguez, 2019, Lee’s Summit, Missouri
  • Jaden Scott, 2020, Louisburg
  • Spencer Short, 2019, Cayton, Utah
  • Blake Stokes, 2019, Tuscola, Illinois
  • Adeline Tolle, 2021, Dallas
  • Kaylee Trost, 2019, Shawnee Mission
  • Megan Tunget, 2019, Lawrence
  • Jacob Turner, 2019, Mission
  • Paeten Denning Vogel, 2019, Overland Park
  • Cody Wright, 2019, Jacksonville, Texas

In addition, 20 students were honored at graduation with Pro Bono Distinction for having completed 50 hours or more of pro bono service throughout their law school career. Collectively, members of the Class of 2019 completed 5,183 hours of pro bono service, the largest number completed by a graduating class since the beginning of KU Law’s pro bono program.

Students recognized at graduation:

  • Erica Ash
  • Matthew Beal
  • Erik Blume
  • Karlee Canaday
  • Kristen Cannon
  • Traci Hagedorn
  • Katy Kettler
  • Viet Le
  • Jacob Nemeroff
  • Erika Owunta
  • Jessie Pringle
  • Alex Rindels
  • Evan Rodriguez
  • Spencer Short
  • Brandi Spates
  • Blake Stokes
  • Kaylee Trost
  • Megan Tunget
  • Paeten Denning Vogel
  • Cody Wright

Katy Kettler earned pro bono hours through her work with Legal Aid of Western Missouri. She also enrolled in three clinics for academic credit during her time at KU Law: the Project for Innocence & Post-Conviction Remedies, the Medical-Legal Partnership Field Placement Program and the Legal Aid Clinic.

“Feeling the responsibility for your work makes you want to be better at what you’re doing,” Kettler said. “You have ownership over what you’re doing and you’re impacting someone. It matters that you do a good job.”

Kettler also participated in the spring 2019 “Clean Slate” Expungement Clinic, a partnership between KU Law’s Legal Aid Clinic, the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, Douglas County Legal Aid Society and Kansas Legal Services.

From KU Law, 18 students volunteered for the clinic, providing free legal representation to eligible individuals seeking to expunge records in Douglas County District Court and/or Lawrence Municipal Court. This year’s clinic resulted in 45 expungements.

Photo: KU Law students assisted with the Spring 2019 Expungement Clinic, in partnership with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office. From left: Jessie Pringle, Matthew Beal, Paeten Denning Vogel, Senior Assistant District Attorney C.J. Rieg and Clinical Associate Professor Melanie DeRousse.