Washington and Lee University law student Monica Tulchinsky, a member of the Law Class of 2013, has been named a recipient of the Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award by the Virginia State Bar.
The Virginia State Bar began the award in 2002 to honor extraordinary law student achievement in the areas of pro bono public and under-compensated public service work. Tulchinsky is the third W&L student to win the award. Dan Goldman ‘11L, now with the Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office, received the honor during his 3L year. Mark Kennedy '04L also won the award.
Tulchinsky was nominated by the School to receive the award based on her extensive pro bono work for a variety of domestic and international public interest causes. She has devoted 163 hours alone this year to EarthRights International, where she served as a legal and policy analyst on the Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum case.
“I am delighted that the Virginia State Bar has selected Monica Tulchinsky for this Award,” said Mary Z. Natkin, Assistant Dean for Clinical Education and Public Service. “Her work with human rights and access to justice issues throughout her law school career show that she will be a public interest lawyer of the highest caliber, and I look forward to welcoming her to the bar.”
Tulchinsky also volunteered with the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center on an appellate review project aimed at reducing the risk of wrongful convictions in the state. She assisted by analyzing appeals and outcomes in criminal case opinions from Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal.
In addition, Tulchinsky spent two summers working uncompensated for international organizations. In 2011, she worked with the International Center for Transitional Justice in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she provided assistance in developing a training curriculum for Burmese activists who were being trained to document human rights violations. In 2012, she interned with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, Austria, where she worked on the Institutional Integrity Initiative, a project aimed at incorporating the principles of the UN Convention against Corruption into the integrity policies of United Nations bodies.
At W&L, Tulchinsky has served as a member of several student organizations, including as founder of the Women’s Mentorship Program and Co-President of the Women Law Students Organization. She is also the Symposium Editor for the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, where she was instrumental in organizing the Journal’s recent symposium “Discrimination against Muslim Americans in a Post-9/11 World.”
Tulchinsky is a graduate of Penn State and the Southeast Asia Studies Summer Institute at the University of Wisconsin. Following graduation from W&L Law in May, she will undertake a Liberia-based fellowship with The Carter Center, which will place her at a government institution in which she will engage in legal reform and legal development at a critical time in Liberian history.
The Virginia State Bar’s pro bono award is named in honor of Oliver White Hill, a life-long civil rights activist and attorney. He was one of five lawyers who argued the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional. Hill spent his childhood years in Roanoke and started his law practice there in 1934. Among his many honors, in 2000 Hill received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Washington and Lee. Hill died at the age of 100 in August 2007.
Correction: The original story indicated that Ms. Tulchinsky was the second W&L Law student to win the award. She is actually the third. Mark Kennedy, Law Class of 2004, also won the award.