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DePaul Law congratulates its three Unity Award winners

DePaul Law Unity Awards Dinner
The DePaul Law table at the 2016 Unity Awards Dinner. (standing, left to right) Mahmud Suwwan, Fadya Salem (3L), Emily Steinert (2L), Kary Moyer, Terry Smith; (seated, left to right) Bryanna Jenkins (1L), Lark Mulligan (3L), Lubna S. El-Gendi, Ben Alba.
DePaul University College of Law congratulates three students, Lark Mulligan, Fadya Salem and Emily Steinert, on winning scholarships at the 2016 Unity Award Dinner & 14th Swearing-In of Bar Presidents Ceremony. Both Mulligan and Steinert received the Jerold S. Solovy Diversity Scholarship Award, which honors students who promote diversity within the legal field and improve their communities as a whole through pro bono work and advocacy. Salem earned a Bar Exam Preparation Scholarship, which goes to third-year students with proven academic success, plus the need for financial aid.

All three students engage in public interest law through different areas. Mulligan, who also recently won the Women's Bar Foundation scholarship, provides extensive assistance to the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois and focuses on LGBTQ issues, namely offering pro bono legal aid to transgender people. Steinert helps refugees and other underrepresented people by working for nonprofit organizations, including the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, United Nations Population Fund and the Cape Town Refugee Center in South Africa. Salem educates others on their constitutional rights through her association with the First Defense Legal Aid Street Law Program and Neighborhood Legal Assistance Project.

The Unity Award Dinner is hosted by the Diversity Scholarship Foundation, NFP. It celebrates legal professionals across three states who are dedicated to enhancing diversification within the legal community, and has become one of the region's biggest professional diversity events. Along with honoring students, the ceremony recognized others who have chosen careers in public service, such as Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who was this year's Unity Award Recipient; Chasity Boyce, Tiffany Harper and Cecilia Horan, who were among the Advocates for Diversity Awards recipients and the Honorable Laura C. Liu who posthumously won the Access to Justice Award. The dinner also features the symbolic swearing-in of more than 50 bar presidents who pledge their commitment to diversity, unity and friendship among their fellow professionals; Judge Timothy Evans officiated 2016's Oath of Unity.

Lubna S. El-Gendi, director of student affairs and diversity, hosted the DePaul Law table and spoke highly of the students and their "inspiring, amazing work for communities," as well as of the numerous alumni who supported the event. She further complimented the organizers for the night and the entertainment, which featured Secretary White's tumbling group. El-Gendi also noted that following the heated rhetoric surrounding this year's presidential election, it was encouraging to see people who recognize the importance of diversity and of bettering their communities. ​