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KU's International Law Society wins national award

Monday, May 6, 2013

The KU Law chapter of the International Law Students Association hosts one of the law school’s classiest events each year, and they recently received major recognition for their efforts.

The governing body of the International Law Students Association awarded KU Law’s chapter with the Best Philanthropic Event/Activity Chapter award for its wine tasting fundraiser. This award is presented to a chapter that planned or sponsored a successful, well-attended event or activity that benefits a charitable organization or cause. KU Law’s chapter will receive $100 in prize money that will assist the organization with programming over the next academic year.

“I thought KU’s International Law Society would be a very strong candidate, so when we received the award I was happy, but not surprised,” said Justin Kohlbeck, 2L, the organization’s treasurer this year who submitted the application. “ILS at KU has a great tradition and great leadership.”

For the past few years, ILS has planned and hosted the wine tasting, which benefits Optimus Youth, a charitable organization that provides essential resources to communities in need around the world. In order to make the event a success, KU Law students solicit wine and silent auction donations from local vendors, reserve a room, hire a pianist and order hors d’oeuvres. They received more than $600 in donations at last year’s event,  and managed a good turnout this year in spite of the date coinciding with a KU basketball NCAA tournament game.

“It was nice that the people who worked on the wine tasting—most notably the event's chair, Katie Malotte—got recognition for the hard work required to put this event together,” said Bradley Freedman, a second-year student and president of ILS. “Katie is a 1L, and the first year of law school is tough enough without adding extra responsibilities to your schedule. She did a good job in tough circumstances because the wine tasting ended up being the same night as the KU-Michigan game. The fact that we were still able to raise money for Optimus Youth says a lot.”

The mission of KU Law’s chapter is to educate the legal community about international legal issues, to promote international career opportunities, and to stimulate direct action and dialogue related to international legal issues. This year, Bradley Freedman served as president and Rachel Martin, 2L, was vice president. Professors John Head and Raj Bhala are the organization’s advisers. Freedman said the group plans to continue the wine tasting fundraiser for the foreseeable future.

Optimus Youth was founded by a group of young people who unexpectedly united in order to expand an orphanage in Kenya. The organization is a federally approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to helping people help children, and manages charitable projects in Kenya, Mozambique and Jamaica. KU Law’s students became involved with the organization through Sean Foley, L’12, who serves as co-vice chairman of the board. All proceeds raised at the wine tasting event are donated to the organization.