On February 8, 2013, University of Richmond School of Law's Student Bar Association and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity hosted the annual "Raising the Stakes for Public Interest" Auction and Casino Night at the University's Jepson Alumni Center. The $30,623 raised this year will support the law schools summer stipend program for students working in public interest internships. All students are guaranteed a stipend for at least one of their two summers provided that they file a timely application and find a qualifying position.
Law school students, professors, and alumni enjoyed an evening of casino-style games and both a live and silent auction. Professors Jack Preis and John Douglass and Brandon Metheny, L'14, acted as auctioneers. Laura Boorman, L'13, Rick Palmieri , L'13, and Sarah Kane, L'14, coordinated the event.
Boorman said the attendance for this year's event was larger than in previous years. She explained, "Ultimately we had around 260 people in attendance—students and guests, many faculty members and their spouses, and some alumni. I was so excited with the student and faculty turnout and so grateful that so many of our own came to support our fundraising efforts."
The live and silent auction featured a wide range of items that were donated by local businesses, law school students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Local businesses donated items to the auction, including overnight stays at the Jefferson Hotel and the Linden Row Inn, restaurant gift certificates, rounds of golf at local courses, massages, and tickets to the Richmond Ballet, Virginia Wine Expo, Wintergreen Resort, Flying Squirrels games, and Segway tours. BARBRI also donated gift certificates to use toward bar review courses. Boorman added, "As you can imagine, there was a lot of competition amongst the 3L students for these certificates!"
Boorman said students contributed a number of items to the silent auction, including babysitting services, original paintings, and designated driver services. Law faculty members offered themed dinners and game nights for students at their homes, tickets to accompany a professor to a Flying Squirrels game, and even a chance to "Pie your Professor (Epstein) in the Face." Faculty members also created a "Pay or Play" challenge, a competition amongst the faculty to either donate an item to the event or make a monetary gift to the stipend fund, or both. Boorman added, "I was so impressed by the enthusiasm of our faculty and staff members, and their kind donations are a very large part of the reason why we reached a new record level of donations this year."
Alumni also donated a number of items to the auction, including diploma framing services and gift certificates. Boorman said, "It was very kind of alumni to contribute, especially because many, if not all, of them received stipends for their past summer internships as students. We were fortunate to have some wonderful alumni support with this event." A number of alumni in attendance also made monetary and in-kind donations to the fund. She added, "In the future, we hope to continually expand the public interest auction to encourage more alumni to attend." She noted that the event is a great opportunity for students to interact with alumni and for alumni to give back to Richmond Law and visit with former professors and faculty members.
All proceeds from the annual event go to funding the law school's summer stipend program, which offers awards to first- and second-year law students pursuing unpaid government or public interest legal internships. The program awarded more than $250,000 to 120 students during summer 2012.
Boorman commented, "As a first year law student, I was fortunate to receive a summer stipend to help defray the costs of my own summer internships. Because of the stipend, I completed internships with both a federal district court judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina and with the Chief Staff Attorney's Office at the Supreme Court of Virginia here in Richmond." She added, "I feel so fortunate to have been given the chance to organize this year's auction to help increase the stipend fund for other students at Richmond Law." Boorman also said she hopes the fund will continue to grow so that other students will be able to have the summer internship experiences that she had.