As one of its initiatives in the legal community, the AWA has committed to award $500 annually to an outstanding law clinic student from each of the two local law schools, whose work has focused on issues important to the AWA.

At Tulane, the $500 award is given to the most outstanding student in the Domestic Violence Law Clinic(as chosen by the Director of the Clinic).

At Loyola, the $500 award is given to the most outstanding student in the family law section of the Loyola Law Clinic (to be selected by the family law attorney/advisor at the Clinic).

Our 2014 AWA Recipient from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Family Law Section of the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice is Hope Elizabeth Hughes. During the academic year Hope logged over 550 hours while representing clients in custody disputes, neglect & abuse allegations, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and intra-family adoption cases. In addition to handling ten cases, Hope was co-counsel in several others cases. One of Hope’s happy cases was an intra-family adoption of twin girls who were adopted by their aunt who had no children of her own. She also tried two major custody cases. Hope prepared and conducted direct and cross examinations of several witnesses and two experts. Her supervisor reports that Hope was always prepared, professional and an inspiration to her fellow student practitioners, professors and staff.

Our 2014 award recipient from the Tulane Domestic Violence Clinic is Jenee Barnes. Jenee was chosen by her clinic supervisors because of her exceptional advocacy for the domestic violence survivors she represented. When Jenee interviewed her first client, who called the Clinic about a consumer law issue, she discovered the client was being stalked and abused by a former boyfriend and that there was a history of extremely serious and recent abuse that included multiple incidents of physical abuse, sexual abuse, strangulation, and being held at knife point. Jenee and her trial team helped the client file for an emergency protective order against abuse, but also asked the court to address possession and ownership the consumer law issues that were ruining the survivor’s credit and preventing her from being economically independent. Thanks to Jenee’s hard work and collaboration with fellow clinic students, the client obtained a permanent protective order and an order that gave her ownership and possession of disputed property and resolved important credit issues. By second semester, Jenee was able to jump into another case on short notice, representing a mother whose 18 month old baby was being hidden away by the baby’s father, a domestic violence perpetrator. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the trial team, the mother was reunited with her baby after more than 75 days apart, and was awarded primary custody and a permanent order of protection.