12th Annual Public Service Benefit Dinner to Honor Alumni Contributions in the Field

March 20, 2015

The Student Funded Public Interest Fellowship Program (SFPIF) will honor alumni for their outstanding contributions to public service at the 12th annual Public Service Benefit Dinner on April 2.

This year’s honorees — Myles D. Berman (JD ’83), Stuart J. Chanen (JD ’85), and Randi Ilyse Roth (JD ’84)—have each made significant contributions in the field, from working with the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc., to helping attain exoneration for an individual wrongfully convicted of murder with the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, to securing housing rights for low income communities on the South Side of Chicago.

Berman, managing partner at Foley & Lardner LLP, has devoted significant time to public interest work as a board member of several organizations, including the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee Public Interest Law Initiative, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Illinois Equal Justice Commission. He has also been named to the list of Illinois Super Lawyers in government relations and political law and has been an adjunct professor at Northwestern Law.

After fifteen years at a big law firm, Chanen took a position as a line assistant at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago in order to spend more time in the courtroom working on meaningful cases. He then worked at Katten Muchin Rosenman before taking a role at Valorem, a firm with a collaborative philosophy towards practicing the law. Chanen cites his experience successfully leading a team of lawyers working on the Thaddeus Jimenez case in 2009 with the CWC as a defining moment in his career and passion for public interest.

Roth has spent much of her career serving underrepresented communities including as a staff attorney at the Legal Assistance Foundation as an advocate for low income clients on the South Side of Chicago; as executive director of Farmers’ Legal Action Group, providing legal counsel to family farmers; and as executive director at the Otto Bremer Foundation, which supports developing healthy communities in Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Minnesota.

The SFPIF dinner will also recognize three younger alumni invested in public interest law, Meghan Carter (JD ’10), David T. Harris (JD ’07), and Margaret Wakelin (JD ’08).

The annual event, established in 2004, brings law school alumni and students together to celebrate individual commitments to serving the public interest.  The SFPIF Public Service Dinner was established to help raise funds for the organization’s Len Rubinowitz Public Interest Fellowship, which provides grants for law students who work in otherwise unpaid public interest jobs over the summer. Last year SFPIF raised $43,000 and funded 23 grants to support students.