Wake Forest University School of Law student Henna Shah has been chosen as the recipient of the 2021 Smith Anderson Pro Bono Award for Exceptional Service in recognition of outstanding pro bono service to the community. The award, now in its seventh year, is given annually to a Wake Forest Law student who demonstrates passion to serve 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 Law. Each year law students who meet the award criteria submit their written nomination and Smith Anderson selects a winner.
Henna, a third-year law student, has demonstrated her commitment to serving people in need through almost 600 hours of pro bono work while a full time student. Among her leadership roles at the University, Henna has served as the Executive Director of the Pro Bono Project, Community Outreach Director of the Public Interest Law Organization, President of the International Law Society, communications director of the Environmental Law Society and a member of the editorial staff of the Wake Forest Journal of Law and Policy.
“Pro bono work has taken on an added significance in the past year,” said Gerald Roach, Smith Anderson’s Firm Chair and Wake Forest University Board of Trustees’ Chair. “The pandemic created many needs, and Smith Anderson applauds Henna’s extraordinary dedication to serving others in these extraordinary times.”
In addition to the Pro Bono Project, multiple other projects were established during Henna’s leadership, including the COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance Project, the COVID-19 Housing Eviction Project and the Driver’s License Restoration Project.
“Pro bono work is absolutely essential, and Henna’s work is reflective of Wake Forest University School of Law’s commitment to instilling its importance in each of our graduates, so that they will continue to help those in need throughout their law careers,” said Wake Forest University School of Law Dean Jane Aiken. “Henna sets an exceptional example of leadership for all of our students.”
Wake Forest Law houses the Pro Bono Project and the Public Interest Law Organization — a student-run organization that works in collaboration with Wake Forest Law to train future lawyers to serve both their clients and their communities — and the Pro Bono Project. Through the Pro Bono Project, students have the opportunity to provide assistance to attorneys who offer legal services at no fee or at a substantially reduced fee to individuals in need, fostering a life-long commitment to pro bono work among Wake Forest Law graduates.
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 in a way that results in demonstrated impact or increased access to legal information among an underserved population.
For more information about Wake Forest University School of Law, visit law.wfu.edu.