The annual Barristers’ Ball was not only the highlight of the year for graduating students, but a highlight for all students, faculty and staff who are all welcome to the event. Faculty, staff, administrators and students from first through fourth year, over 200 in all, attended the 2010 event at Mendenhall Inn in Wilmington. The attendance was a record setter ! Great food, great music and great fun was had by all.
At the event, outgoing SBA President, Destiny Prater, conferred the following awards to students, faculty and staff. These awards were selected by the eight members of the Student Bar Association’s Executive Board. Professor Leslie Johnson won an award for her contributions as an advisor to the Brehon society as well as continual support of other organizations through donations at fundraisers, attendance at events and judging / witnessing for various competitions.
Incoming SBA President, Damiano “Dom” del Pino won the award, for a second time, for outstanding Student Organization President for his work with the Military Law Society (MLS) and the Widener chapter of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) (f/k/a ATLA). The MLS brought the first federal appellate court to hear oral arguments at Widener to our campus in the Spring 2010. The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims heard oral arguments in a matter concerning a veteran who was denied benefits from the Veterans Administration and followed with a networking lunch. The event, which packed the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom to capacity, was simulcast to Washington DC and our sister campus in Harrisburg. The AAJ rose from the dead after a year of inactivity to hold two successful mock trial competitions and a networking golf outing.
The Asian Pacific American Law Students Association won the Community Service Award and the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity won the Organization of the Year Award. PAD held the etiquette dinner and the successfully revived the annual fashion show which had been held by the Career Development Office (CDO) in years past.
This year, the SBA and the Law School administration wanted to do something different so we went back to holding the Ball in April like other law schools. In fact, most law schools in the country have already had their Barristers’ Balls by now. Years ago, we started holding the event two nights before graduation, this year we are going back to holding the event mid-semester. There were a few reasons for this, one of which being that most students are not graduating are out of the area after their finals are over. It is hoped that doing this would make the Ball more accessible to students who otherwise would have left the area after finals were over. In the past, we have also had a few incidents that we believe an earlier Barristers’ Ball would adequately address.
This year’s Ball will be a black tie optional event held at the beautiful Deerfield Golf and Tennis Club in Newark, Delaware.
The awards that were presented by the Student Bar Association at the 2011 Barristers’ Ball are as follows:
1. Faculty Advisor of the Year: Given to a faculty member (Adjunct or full time) who has, through advising, coaching, contributing, attending, or otherwise given a substantial and enduring contribution to a student organization or the SBA itself. Associate Professor of Law, Patrick J. Johnston, Esq. received the award for his service as a co-advisor of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Society.
2. Community Service Award: Given to a student organization that has demonstrated exemplary community service and/or fundraising for charity.. Community service can be to the school or the community or both, fundraising must be for a recognized non profit organization (unless otherwise approved by the V.P. of Academics and Community Service) which can be local or national, legal or non-legal. This year’s award went to the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity for their service to the law school community in spearheading professionalism week in the Fall and Spring semester, holding the annual fashion show and the etiquette dinner.
3. Organization of the Year: Given to the student organization that in the opinion of the SBA Executive Board has gone above and beyond all expectations in serving the school / community in a way that deserves special recognition so as to inspire other organizations to follow their lead. This organization would ideally be one that excelled in social, educational, and community services. This year’s award went to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Society which brought a 14-school regional ADR competition to our campus for the first time in almost a decade. They also participated in both professionalism week events and provided practical seminars for law students in the area of ADR.
4. Student Organization President of the Year: Given to the president of a student organization who has through their leadership, professionalism and hard work taken their organization to new heights and successes. This person should be an inspiration to current and future student organization presidents. This year’s award went to Sara O. Alsaleh the President of the newly formed, Food and Drug Law Association. Sara’s FDLA was the first new organization this year becoming official on table day in September. Since then they have held several successful academic, social and community service events including two CLE’s which brought attorneys and alumni to campus affording all of us students the opportunity to learn and network.
These awards, and others were chosen by the eight members of the Student Bar Association based on nominations received from Student Organization Presidents and presented at the 2011 Barristers’ Ball at Deerfield Golf and Tennis Club.