Raleigh, N.C. – Wake Forest University School of Law student Sophia Pappalardo has been chosen as the recipient of the 2020 ‘Smith Anderson Pro Bono Award for Exceptional Service’ in recognition of outstanding pro bono service to the community. The award, which is in its sixth year, is given annually to a Wake Forest University law student who demonstrates passion to serving people in need and whose pro bono service results in positive impact to the community and increased access to legal information.
The Triangle’s largest law firm, Smith Anderson, funded the establishment of the Smith Anderson Office of Community Outreach at Wake Forest University School of Law, which houses the Pro Bono Project and Public Interest Law Organization at the university.
As a third-year law student, Sophia has demonstrated her passion, creativity, dedication and commitment to serving those in need through nearly 200 hours of pro bono work. During her time at the University, she has held many leadership pro bono roles such as serving as a project co-coordinator for the past two years of the “Know Your Rights” project and an organizer of the Brake Lights Clinic and the Wake Law Winston-Salem Community Nights. She also organized a Wake Forest Law pro bono service program for undocumented mothers detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center. Notably, Sophia has provided many hours of exceptional volunteer leadership while also serving as articles editor of the Law Review and Latino Student Association President.
“Wake Forest University School of Law prides itself on the incredible work our students complete during their time at the university,” said Wake Forest University School of Law Dean Jane Aiken. “Sophia is an exceptional example of this pride – not only is she in the process of completing a rigorous law program, but she has still managed to dedicate her time to create a positive impact both within our campus and elsewhere. We are incredibly proud to have her as a student and know she will continue to be a force of positive change upon her graduation this spring.”
“We congratulate Sophia for her extraordinary commitment of service to the community,” said Gerald Roach, Smith Anderson Firm Chair and Wake Forest University Board of Trustees Chair. “On behalf of Smith Anderson, we are proud to support Wake Forest’s pro bono initiatives and to share in its commitment to community service. As lawyers, we have the opportunity to be a power of greater good for our communities, especially during these unique times. I encourage us all to follow Sophia’s example and to help those around us in need.”
Sophia holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and Spanish from American University, where she graduated with honors in 2015.
Eligible candidates for the Smith Anderson Pro Bono Award for Exceptional Service must:
- Be a Pro Bono Honor Society member (society members are students who complete 75 hours of pro bono service over a three-year period or 50 hours in one year);
- Have 100 or more pro-bono hours within three years or 75 hours or more within one year; and
- Through a written nomination the recipient exhibits the passion, creativity, dedication and commitment to serving those in need. The pro bono service must have resulted in demonstrated impact or increasing access to legal information to the underserved population.
For more information about Wake Forest University School of Law, visit law.wfu.edu.