Sunday, May 22, 2022

CLEA Outstanding Student Awards: Pepperdine Caruso's Michael Briggs, Kevin Kilroy, and Felicia Forman

CLEA Outstanding Clinical Student or Team Award: Michael Briggs (3L) and Kevin Kilroy (2L) for the Outstanding Clinic Team Award from the Restoration and Justice Clinic at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law.

All semester, Michael and Kevin demonstrated excellence in their representation of their transgender, human trafficking client. They established rapport early and communicated regularly with their client, and gleaned additional information through trauma-informed interviewing and counseling to better portray their client's criminal convictions as result of sex trafficking. In the five years the clinic has represented this client, we had not previously learned this information. To do this, they prepared extensively, revised and reflected on their approach, and also shared their vulnerabilities with their client; in fact, Kevin shared her own coming out story with their client.

Kevin and Michael also edited the client's declaration and pleadings with more trans-inclusive language. In today's transphobic climate, the care and concern they took to humanize their client not only honors her but also serves to educate stakeholders and decision makers who will read these pleadings. Their contribution to the clinic for future students, as well as the broader community at Pepperdine and the legal community combatting sex trafficking in Los Angeles cannot be overstated.

Their collaboration was excellent, and Kevin described it like this in her journal reflections: "We kept an open line of communication throughout the past few months, also met to strategize before asking to meet with a client or to plan what we would discuss when on the phone with her. We shared expectations for ourselves and motivated each other to do our best. There was never a moment where we did not know what the other was working on, or if they were able to accomplish a given assignment. The communication also fostered great trust between each other."

Michael and Kevin embody the intent and spirit this award seeks to honor.

CLEA Outstanding Externship Student Award: Felicia Forman

During her 2L year, Felicia has excelled in her work with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office Sex Crimes Division. Her work supervisor noted that, "Felicia is committed to helping victims of sexual abuse become survivors. She has incredible drive, an outstanding work ethic and she takes the initiative to find ways to help all of the attorneys here at Stuart House. Felicia will be an outstanding lawyer and our Deputy In Charge continues to tell her that having her as a law clerk is like having another Deputy District Attorney in the office. I am looking forward to Felicia working with us again next semester."

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