Tomisha Stanford, a 2016 graduate of Mercer Law School, recently was selected as the individual recipient of the State Bar of Georgia Law School Excellence in Access to Justice Award. Stanford has worked internationally and locally to help increase access to justice through public interest law.
The prestigious Bar individual law student award specifically recognizes a student who has excelled in participation in support of a civil pro bono or legal aid program or who has developed or has been instrumental in the development of a civil pro bono program satisfying previously unmet civil legal needs or extended services to underserved segments of the population.
“Her commitment to and passion for social justice work is readily apparent and very deep. I have no doubt she will use her legal education and her law degree to make a tremendous difference in the lives of countless people,” said Director of Experiential Education and of the Law and Public Service Program Timothy Floyd in his recommendation letter. “Tomisha's combination of abilities and experiences – her demonstrated commitment to human rights, her organizational skills and determination, her academic successes and intelligence, her deep experience in assisting those in need, and her real compassion and concern for people – uniquely qualify her for this award.”
Stanford studied abroad in Costa Rica during the summer of 2014 and interned with the Center for Justice and International Law, a non-governmental, non-profit organization that protects and promotes human rights in the Americas. In the fall of 2014, she volunteered with the Georgia Legal Services Program's Macon Regional Office working with the bilingual staff attorney in the representation of Spanish-speaking clients of the office. In the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016, she worked with Mercer Law Professor Sarah Gerwig-Moore on pro se cases pending before the Supreme Court of Georgia through the highly regarded Habeas Project.
“My ability to merge my love for foreign languages and passion for the law has followed me in various endeavors from my undergraduate studies to the present,” said Stanford. “I hope to have future opportunities that will permit me to combine my formal legal training and multilingual skills so that I may be of greater service to the community and help improve access to justice for underrepresented groups.”
The Pro Bono Awards will be highlighted at the annual meeting of the State Bar of Georgia in mid-June at Amelia Island, Florida, and in the August edition of the Georgia Bar Journal. The awards will be formally presented during the annual Pro Bono Awards Reception in October at the Bar Center in Atlanta.