PUBLISHED:May 07, 2024

2024 Pro Bono All Stars accrue more than 6,000 hours of pro bono service


This year’s award recipients embody a “passionate” spirit of service and drive to help others, said Pro Bono Director D.J. Dore

group of students holding plaques posing for photo

Last week, 14 students – 10 JDs and four LLMs – were recognized as Class of 2024 Pro Bono All Stars, receiving the highest honor given to graduating students for exceptional commitment to pro bono service throughout their time at Duke Law School.

Collectively, the winners tallied more than 6,400 hours of pro bono service, including qualifying work with student-led and independent pro bono projects, and Duke Law clinics and externships.

This year’s All Stars – Hannah Bloom ’24, Tatiana Chumachenko LLM ’24, Maati Ech Chaibi El Hidaoui LLM ’24, Brendan Hogan ’24, Hannah IsraelMarie ’24, Sam Lawrence ’24, Luke Mears ’24, Madison Pinckney ’24, Andres Pulido Matallana LLM ’24, Jackson Samples ’24, Nur Shukrina Binte Abdul Salam LLM ’24, Courtney Schrater ’24, Lucy Walton ’24, and Kathy Zhou ’24 – have left an admirable and indelible mark on pro bono work at Duke Law.

“This is a passionate group,” said Director of Pro Bono D.J. Dore. “Whether it was starting new projects or revitalizing projects lay dormant by the pandemic, these All Stars helped expand opportunities that will benefit future Duke Law students’ experiential development, and ultimately, help address unmet legal needs.”

For Walton, her pro bono experience was an important bridge between her classwork and the actual practice of law.

“My involvement in pro bono made sure I was practicing actual legal skills and interacting with clients starting in my 1L fall semester,” Walton said. “This not only helped me develop my abilities like research, writing, and project management, but it also reminded me why I came law school - to do good.”

The Office of Public Interest & Pro Bono encourages pro bono participation from both public interest and private firm-focused students. The 2024 Pro Bono All Stars represent a wide array of careers paths, including assistant public defender, Big Law corporate transactional associate, government litigator, and international human rights investigator, to name a few.

Dore said, “It demonstrates that the legal skills, and perhaps more importantly, the humanizing experiences gained from working with vulnerable clients and communities, helps develop a competency that translates to any career a student may be interested in pursuing. I’m confident – and grateful – that each All Star will stay involved with pro bono work as they transition from Duke Law graduate to successful attorney.”

Highlights of the honorees’ work include:

  • Ten All Stars held leadership positions in one or more of the student-led pro bono projects.
  • Founding the Lyme Disease Advocacy Project, which focuses on advocating for legislative change, increased funding, and better education concerning the prevention of Lyme and tick-borne disease.
  • Developing new fall and spring break Pro Bono trip projects to conduct high-impact criminal record expunction and immigration work in underserved areas throughout North Carolina and other Southern states.
  • Creating the “Better Together” project, an award-winning collaboration with UNC School of Law and NCCU School of Law to provide criminal record expunction relief for indigent Durham residents.
  • Revitalizing Broad Street Law, which provides legal information, mentorship, and training to juveniles in detention at the Durham Youth Home. The project had been suspended since the start of the pandemic.
  • IsraelMarie and Mears each completed more than 1,000 hours of pro bono service.

For this year’s All Stars, Dore said, it’s clear that pro bono will continue to play an important role in their legal practice long after graduation. And Samples, who did extensive work with the Clemency Pro Bono Project and plans to represent low-income clients in their public interest career, agreed.

 “I’m particularly interested in supplementing my future work as an appellate public defender with helping people obtain re-entry resources and public benefits,” Samples said. “I have come to appreciate how these things are vital for people’s ability to succeed after release from prison.”

Walton added: “I encourage every law student to get involved with pro bono as soon as they can.”